Information on the U.S. Employment Service's Programs, Activities, and Functions

HRD-82-71: Published: Apr 30, 1982. Publicly Released: May 10, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reported on the various functions performed by the U.S. Employment Service, how existing automated systems are used, the ramifications of recent budget cutbacks on the programs, the characteristics of job applicants and Employment Service referrals and placements, a profile of the employment opportunities offered by the Service, employer's opinions of the Service, and linkages between the Service and other employment and training programs.

The functions performed by the Service include labor-exchange functions as well as non-labor-exchange functions. Many local officials and employers believe that non-labor-exchange functions detract from the labor-exchange mission. The extent and use of automated systems varies considerably among states and local offices. Nationwide, all states have three systems. None of the three states surveyed plans to expand its use of automation due to scarce resources. Reduced funding has resulted in staff level reductions and the closure of some Service offices. Various measures are planned or have been taken to streamline Service operations; however, federal requirements limit flexibility as to the use of the resources. Job applicants registered by the Service are usually younger and less well educated than the general labor force, because the Service is often viewed as an exchange medium for only low-paying, low-skilled jobs. Jobs listed with the Service are most often in nonprofessional lesser-skilled occupations and are frequently temporary. Employers contacted would rather use alternative sources such as want ads, private agencies, or their own recruiting efforts. However, employers who had used the Service generally had a favorable impression of it. The Service is usually integrated with local employment or training programs through financial or nonfinancial agreements which reduce duplications of applicant referrals.

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