SSTI Digest

The latest reporting and analysis on breakthroughs in technology-based economic development research and issues that matter most to you. To receive the SSTI Weekly Digest via email, sign up here.


Competition for top talent in cutting edge industries highlights need for revamped hiring practices

In a field once dominated by government agencies and incumbent organizations, the aerospace and defense (A&D) industry has experienced a rapid landscape change over the past decade as private companies and high-profile organizations launch commercial space programs and advance novel exploration and communications projects. These private companies present new competition to the traditional A&D industry.

National Solar Jobs Census finds increase in productivity, dip in employment for 2020

The United States solar industry experienced a 6.7 percent drop in total employment during 2020, a reflection of the difficulties that the COVID-19 pandemic caused in some parts of the manufacturing and construction sectors.

Semiconductor shortages dragged down April employment, other takeaways from a dive into the jobs data

The April jobs report, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on May 7, generated considerable attention due to the 266,000 jobs added being far less than anticipated. Contributing to this topline number are quite a few trends moving in different directions, including a severe decline in automotive manufacturing employment — likely driven by the global semiconductor shortage — increasing restaurant and R&D employment, and declines in part-time work.

Disparities persist in Science & Engineering education and employment for women, minorities, and persons with disability

As support for efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) continue to ramp up at organizations in sectors across the country, policy-makers and program designers must carefully consider the dynamics underlying the persistent disparities faced by women, minorities, and persons with disability in obtaining education and employment in science and engineering (S&E).

Millennials closing the generational wealth gap

Armed with new data and new methodology, researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis revisited earlier findings on the generational wealth gap and found that “millennials may not be as ‘lost’ as we once thought.” The researchers analyzed data to calculate an estimated life cycle of wealth, mapping out the general path that wealth accumulation tends to follow, with low levels among young families, accumulated savings as people age, and drawdowns in retirement.

Governors face growing pushback

According to Governing, if 2020 was the year of the governor, 2021 is shaping up to be its end, as lawmakers across the country begin to curtail the sweeping powers of their state executives, following a pandemic and concurrent economic shutdown that led governors to flex their authority in historic new ways.

Recent Research: Researchers find investment tax credits drive out successful investors

The Achilles Heel of Reputable VCs,” a recent paper by Nuri Ersahin et al., finds that the most successful venture capital (VC) funds make fewer and smaller investments in states after investment tax credits go into effect. These VCs also co-invest with fewer firms, are less likely to invest in “serial” entrepreneurs and experience fewer positive exits after the introduction of the tax credit.

Labor department moves to protect gig workers

Independent contractors notched a win as the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) this month announced the withdrawal of the “Independent Contractor Rule.” The rule, which was issued two weeks before the change in presidential administrations, would have made it easier for employers to classify workers as independent contractors and would have provided employers more security from challenges by contract workers for minimum wages and overtime pay.

DHS withdraws previously proposed removal of the International Entrepreneur Parole Program

The Department of Homeland Security has recently announced its withdrawal of the previously proposed removal of the International Entrepreneur Parole Program. The program allows for DHS to use its parole authority to grant foreign entrepreneurs a period of authorized stay within the United States with the aim that their start-up business can serve as a public benefit through job creation and economic development.

Venture development organizations find multifaceted success within their regions

Venture development organizations (VDOs) increasingly serve as the Swiss Army knife of small business growth and innovation throughout the country due to their diverse range of entrepreneurial programs, direct financing options, and commitment to local economic development. Their unique roles in the entrepreneurial ecosystems and regional public-private partnerships have allowed for startup success despite the financial instability brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Innovative ways companies are looking to close digital divide

In a previous article, SSTI detailed the limitations of public funding in solving the country’s rural broadband issue. While increased public funding is certainly part of the equation to bring internet capabilities to the near 14 million people who do not have access, there is potential to leverage new innovative technologies to bridge the broadband gap across America.

Latino entrepreneurship continues growth throughout US

Throughout the past decade, the Latino entrepreneurial landscape has experienced both a growth in average annual revenue and an increase in the establishment of new employer businesses. However, Latino business owners remain significantly less likely than white business owners to receive loan approvals from major banks, resorting instead to financing options that expose the business owners to more personal financial risk including personal and business lines of credit and personal home equity loans.

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