Labor Data Story Pitch

Elizabeth Henderson & Malik Singleton

1. Thesis and Questions

A total of 163,000 jobs were added to the U.S. labor market last July. Another 96,000 in August. While these numbers show slowly improving economy, they do little to tell us how people are making a living these days. We want to uncover data about working people that paints a real picture of the current workforce. How many people are moving from manufacturing the retail work? And how is this switch playing out along gender and class lines?

2. News Hook

In 1972, almost a quarter of workers in the United States worked in the manufacturing industry. In 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that number shrank to nine percent. Meanwhile, employment in the service and retail industries are on the rise. Even the President stressed in the second debate that certain jobs just aren’t coming back to the United States. So which people and cities are hit the hardest by this trend? Our report will find answers to this.

3. Description and Link to Data

This EEOC dataset shows how private companies reported to their agency the demographic makeup of their employees. We will use these numbers, plus BLS data to find details for our story.

4. Potential Expert Sources

In our reporting we will find sources who are real people doing real work, in addition to the experts in the labor research field listed here.

a. Gary Steinberg, National press officer, Bureau of Labor Statistics
(202) 691-5902,
Regional press office, New York/New Jersey, Bureau of Labor Statistics

b. Stanley Aronowitz, Professor of Sociology, City University of New York
(212) 817-2001,
* Stanley Aronowitz has written over 20 books on labor in the United States, and his work includes research on how race, gender and class intersect with labor.

c. Mark Brenner, Editor, Labor Notes
* Labor Notes has covered the labor movement for over 15 years, specifically focusing on the decline of manufacturing jobs and the rise in the retail and service industries — and that this change means for workers.

d. Kevin J. Berry, Director EEOC New York District Office