Why Are Some Occupations Paid More than Others?

Purpose of Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is so students may look at the microeconomic data and other sources for better understanding of trends and determinants of the labor market.

We will look at the microeconomic data and other sources for better understanding of trends and determinants of the labor market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website provides public with an easy access to different statistical tools and different types of data presentation.

Assignment Steps

Select one of the following surveys, from the BLS Current Employment Statistics survey (National):

  • Goods-producing Employment – CES0600000001
  • Construction Employment – CES2000000001
  • Manufacturing Employment – CES3000000001
  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities Employment – CES4000000001
  • Retail Trade Employment – CES4200000001
  • Education and Health Services Employment – CES6500000001

A convenient webpage in the www.bls.gov website is entitled “Industries at a Glance “.

Retrieve and save a Microsoft® Excel® file and the graphs to your desktop or laptop computer for analysis. You will have to check the “include graph” box along the top of the page to see the graph, and you will need to copy and paste the graph separately into your Microsoft®Powerpoint® document. (Microsoft Windows® provides the “Snipping Tool” under Programs/Accessories or via Contana. Apple OS has a similar method to snip an image from the screen.)

Tutorial help on Excel® functions and PowerPoint® can be found on the Microsoft® office website. There are also additional tutorials via the web that offer support for Microsoft Office® products.

Consider the following two articles, located in the Week 4 Electronic Reserve Readings, discussing actor salaries and hedge fund executives’ average salaries:

  • “Robert Downey Junior is Hollywood’s Highest-Paid Actor”
  • “In Tough Year, Hedge Fund Leaders Still Paid Well: Average Salary of $467M Was Half 2013, Report Says”

Prepare a 5- to 8-slide Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation based on your analysis to share in class. (4 slides must be content slide with slide notes; non-content slides are the title slide, agenda/outline slide, “Q&A” slide, reference list slides.)

Include the following content in the presentation:

  • What are trends in the labor market for the chosen labor group that you can identify for the last 10 years?
  • What factors affected the demand and supply for this labor group during the last 10 years?
  • Why do actors and actresses earn so much compared to the chosen labor group? Why do hedge fund executives earn so much compared to the chosen labor group?
  • In addition to wages, what other factors influence an individual to choose one job over another? What jobs do you think have the best mix of salary and other characteristics that individuals care about?

Research and report data available from Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and other reliable and authoritative sources. Provide statistics in summary fashion (chart or summary statistics comparison table) in the Powerpoint® file and submit an Excel® spreadsheet with raw data and calculations.

Be prepared as each learning team member should be prepared to provide a minimum three-minute recital of interesting and important lessons from this assignment.

Cite a minimum of three reliable and authoritative reference sources from the University Library in addition to your textbook nor required economic data sources. The textbook and data sources should always be cited and included in the reference list.

The student should do research of reliable and authoritative reference sources to generate either recent or historical “real world” examples of concepts, institutions, events, and trends that are relevant to the topics listed above. Hypothetical or simple story-like examples are welcome, but should be supplemented with “real world” examples.

Students should use research articles from peer-reviewed journals, trade periodicals, government reports, research institute reports, reliable blogs, newspapers and magazines with coverage of business and economics, and other worthwhile sources.

Some internet sources are to be avoided as primary reference sources: www.investopedia.com, www.wikipedia.org, and any other dedicated “economics information” website like www.khanacademy.org, www.amosweb.com, www.netmba.com, www.chegg.com, www.quora.com, www.tutor2.net, www.quickonomics.com, www.economicshelp.org, and other online economics and business encyclopedia or dictionaries. These can supplement the textbook only. (Of course, if you use these websites, you must cite them and include them in your reference list.) Penalties will be assessed if these are used instead of the textbook. (As you can see, the instructor is familiar with these and others. Please read the Mankiw textbook (he is in the top 40 worldwide which is the top 10% of all economists; see https://ideas.repec.org/top/top.person.all.html ).)

Format consistent with APA guidelines.

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