IBJOpinion

MARCUS: How much do workers want to earn?

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Morton Marcus

Morton MarcusRegular readers know I’m a numbers guy. Give me a set of data and I can be happily occupied for hours. Sometimes I am distressed by numbers. Recently, I discovered that the manufacturers of men’s clothing inflated the sizes of jackets and trousers so one might think that I am now wider and shorter than I was just a few years ago. But I will not trouble you with my nominal size changes.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development today does a much better job of providing the public with data that it did in the past. A simple visit to Hoosiers by the Numbers on the DWD website is a data junkie’s joy. Where else can you find what unemployed Hoosier workers seek in wages, by county?

This is possible because job applicants record their wage expectations on DWD computers and these are averaged by county. Thus we find that the average annual expectation of Hamilton County workers is the highest in the state, at $36,799. No surprise there. Yet who would have thought that Wells County (Bluffton) would be second, at $35,556? Or Wabash County fourth, at $34,732? The most modest expected wages were in Jay, Knox, Owen and Greene counties—each under $20,000 per year. The average for Marion County was $28,792.

Unfortunately, DWD calls the data “wage demand.” It would seem they did not get the website checked for political sensitivity. Isn’t the term “demand” usually reserved for a hostile press describing what unions seek? No one talks about the grocery demanding a particular price for corn flakes or Pepsi demanding so much for two liters of their product. Does your gas station’s posted price constitute a demand? I am sure someone at DWD will change that wording soon.

Less comforting is the fact that the latest data posted were for June 2008. These data should be up to date to be of value to employers and workers alike. DWD claims that, “Each week, we examine the pool of applicants who are registered in [the DWD computerized system]. Applicants define their wage expectations for the work they desire. An average wage demand is calculated for the selected geographic area.” Hence, we might have hopes that the data would be updated more frequently for the public website.

I am confident that DWD will examine this as closely as they do other statistical issues. For example, how is it that the median wage sought in 50 of the 92 Indiana counties is reported as $20,800? That seems an unlikely condition, but I may not understand the intricacies that abound here.

However, let’s not be picky. This is an extraordinary source of information, as are most files at DWD. With this sort of information, we could track how wage expectations change over time, as the unemployment rate for the county changes, and as the duration of unemployment changes for individuals. Where DWD has data on the wage finally accepted by the worker, the expected and realized values could be compared, which could have a feedback effect on other workers.

Almost every state and local agency has data that can be mined more effectively than at present. In some cases getting more from existing data can be costly, but often the costs are small, requiring just a little imagination and a pinch to the seat of government.•
__________

Marcus taught economics for more than 30 years at Indiana University and is the former director of IU’s Business Research Center. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at mmarcus@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Angela IS the best RD

  2. We are a nation of speed. All of our younger lives are filled with deadlines, quotas and bottom lines. We start to ease out of the pressured rat-race when we finally see "retirement." The most enjoyable travel on the planet is passenger rail service. Indy to Chicago does not beat Megabus or Southwest Airlines in speed. Passenger rail however has the best seating, mammoth legroon, seat backs that recline to more than 45 degrees and employers that really want you to return as a customer. Indiana municipalities need to maintain subsidies to support this transportation mode. Losing it is loss for all of us.

  3. Good day! I just want to testify how i got my loan from Mr. Eric Lefkofsky after i applied several times from various loan lenders who claimed to also testify right in this forum,i thought the testimonies where real and i applied but they never gave me loan. I was in need of an urgent loan to start a business and i applied from various loan lenders who promised to help but they never gave me the loan. Until a friend of mine introduce me to this popular Mr. Eric Lefkofsky who promised to help me and indeed he did as he promised without any form of delay. I never thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr. Eric lefkofsky who indeed helped me with the loan and changed my belief. I promised to share this testimony after I got my loan. I don't know if you are in any way in need of a genuine and urgent loan,free feel to contact Mr. Eric Lefkofsky via their email{grouponfunding@hotmail.com}

  4. Its a THUG issue. Bleecker Street and NYX are thug bars. They attract thugs of all races. Places that attract thugs need to be kicked out of Broad Ripple. Ain't nobody got time for that!

  5. Hello everyone, My name is Marian Gareth, I am from the Texas, United State, am here to testify of how i got my loan from Mr Andre Frank {frankloancompany@yahoo.com} after i applied Two times from various loan lenders who claimed to be lenders right in this forum,i thought their lending where real and i applied but they never gave me loan. I was in need of an urgent loan to start a business and i applied from various loan lenders who promised to help but they never gave me the loan.Until a friend of mine introduce me to Mr Andre Frank the C.E.O of Andre Frank Loan Company who promised to help me with a loan of my desire and he really did as he promised without any form of delay, I never thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr Andre Frank, who really help me with my loan and changed my lief for better. I don't know if you are in need of an urgent loan, free feel to contact Mr Andre Frank on his email{ Frankloancompany@yahoo.com} for help

ADVERTISEMENT