Phoenix Center: Broadband Access Keeps Job Seekers in Labor Force

WASHINGTON, DC – Americans who use the Internet, particularly broadband, are more likely to continue active job searches and less likely to drop out of the labor force, according to new research from the Phoenix Center that updates two studies from 2010. Internet-based job search, rather than general Internet use, is the primary mechanism for reducing discouragement.

The study, authored by Phoenix Center chief economist Dr. George S. Ford, recognizes that mobile broadband is rapidly
becoming the connection modality of choice for many Americans. Lower-income households, where labor market troubles are particularly acute, appear more likely to be mobile-only customers.

Although mobile broadband is widely available, there are significant shortfalls in coverage, particularly in rural markets.
Accordingly, the Phoenix Center suggests that facilitating private investment in expanded mobile broadband coverage could improve the efficiency of labor markets, particularly for persons living in lower-income households or rural markets.

Using the 2009 and 2003 Computer and Internet Use Supplements of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, the Center’s empirical models again find that broadband users - whether they access the Internet at home or at shared public facilities - are about half as likely to give up their job searches because of discouragement than those who do not use the Internet. Even dial-up Internet users are less likely than non-Internet users to drop out of the labor force as a result of being discouraged by labor market prospects.


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