Alumni News

October 25, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Notable Alumni | Economics Alum Brings ‘JOLTS,’ Better Understanding of U.S. Business Economy

Graphic for College of Arts & Sciences Notable Alumni Award

Editor’s Note: The College of Arts & Sciences launches the Notable Alumni Awards, honoring 37 Notable Alumni in 2017 for broad accomplishments in their careers, a commitment to community service, and valuable contributions to Ohio University, the College of Arts & Sciences, and its students.

Richard Clayton ’73 , ’74M.A. Economics

Ohio University alum Richard Clayton took his economics degree to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and ended up giving “JOLTS” to the leading economic indicators index and getting two Hammer Awards for expanding the understanding of the changing U.S. business economy.

Richard Clayton

Richard Clayton

Clayton graduated from OHIO in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and in 1974 with a Master of Arts in Economics from the College of Arts & Sciences. He worked for the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 40 years, ending in 2015. During that period, he led the development of several new methods and programs and contributed to many innovations. “In all of these, I worked with wonderful managers and staff,” Clayton says.

“I was responsible for the development of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from concept to publication. These data will surely find their way into the Composite Index of Leading Economic Indicators at some point.”

He also directed the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) for 17 years, leading several key improvements in expanding and accelerating publication, creating new products based on geocoding business locations, and the initial publication and expansion of data products from the Business Employment Dynamics (BED) program that expand the understanding of the changing U.S. business economy.

Richard Clayton in his college days, wearing coat

Richard Clayton in his college days

“I also pioneered work to integrate a range of administrative datasets to create new products, such as measuring the non-profit sector and foreign direct investment, using Big Data concepts,” Clayton adds.

“While working in the monthly payroll survey, Current Employment Statistics (CES) program, for over a decade, I led a small team that developed a range of new computer-assisted data collection methods, forging them into a new multi-mode approach that has been copied in other surveys. This work included the first use of voice recognition and web-based collection in any federal survey.”

He also led the development of the concepts and implementation of the short-lived Green Goods and Services Survey.

He received a number of BLS and Department of Labor awards, in addition to two vice-presidential “Hammer” awards.

Connections with OHIO

“Over the past 20 years or so, Dr. Richard Vedder reached out to several OU alums at BLS. Year after year, he brought the best students to Washington for a day or two. We at BLS presented how BLS survey programs worked and what current economic data meant,” Clayton says.

“It was great to talk to future economists and hear their questions. Dr. Vedder also arranged for me to give presentations to economics students in Athens on several occasions. I also worked with Dr. Vedder to connect graduates with BLS for jobs.

“Most recently, two of our Virginia neighbors moved to Athens and both teach in the OHIO Journalism department: John and Julie Agnone.”

Alumni Richard Clayton and Holly Hazard

Alumni Richard Clayton and Holly Hazard

Favorite Bobcat Memory

“I was an assistant Judo instructor along with Howard Lebow. I met my wife, Holly Hazard (class of ’77), in that class. Teaching Judo with Howard was a great diversion from academics, and we are still friends.”

Richard Clayton, weating cap

Richard Clayton

Ohio University Mentors

“Dr. Meno Lovenstein played a large role as professor, friend, and mentor. He published works from economics to poetry and knew just about everything. I could talk to him about anything and enjoyed many dinners at his home. He gave me great advice and direction, and was key in my receiving a graduate assistantship for my M.A.” Clayton says.

“Dr. Bertrand Devoe covered ECON 101 and 102 in a way that spoke to me and kept drawing me back to economics, and I recall my classes with Dr. Rich Vedder and Dr. Doug Adie with fondness.”



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