The field of human capital was launched about a half century ago. It is concerned with investments in people – education, health, on-the-job training, migration, and knowledge. All of these investments involve costs up front and benefits that follow. Since 1980, major shifts in the U.S. labor market have occurred: a growing demand for labor in high skilled services and good-producing industries; a decline in demand for goods producing intermediate skilled workers; and some growth in demand for low-skilled service workers. Unfortunately, workers have not been prepared to make these shifts in labor demand, leading some to encounter long-term unemployment, and employers to have unfilled positions. New policies are needed to help these individuals find new jobs that lead to productive work and lives.

JEL classifications: J24, J23, J22, J31, J61