CEPR regularly publishes a curated collection of original research from academic institutions and nonprofits on the state of the US labor market. The compilation is part of our ongoing effort to promote informed debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives.
The Brookings Institution
California’s Inland Empire has seen exceptional growth over the years due in large part to its affordability and close proximity to the Pacific Ocean. However, a series of busts and booms within trade and technology coupled with the Great Recession threatened to diminish the growth of the region and left many of the workers behind. This report finds ways to advance jobs opportunities in the area. The authors found the Inland Empire must increase competitiveness and diversity in “opportunity industries”— industries that contain good and promising jobs.
Center for American Progress (CAP)
College affordability continues to be a large issue with students borrowing approximately $91 billion in federal loans in 2018 bringing the total loan balance to about $1.5 trillion. Because the United States’ federal student loan repayment system is broken, Congress has a huge opportunity to fix that with the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). This report emphasizes new evidence of the unsatisfactory government oversight of student loan services and analyzes steps Congress can make to put an end to default and collection agencies, codify standards for loan servicing, and improve oversight and transparency at the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA).The State of the U.S. Labor Market: Pre-February 2019 Jobs Day Release
Disabled workers face considerable barriers to economic security with increasing disparities by race and income. This report uses data from the US Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey to examine current labor trends for prime-age workers with disabilities. Focusing on the unemployment rate, the employment-to-population ratio, workplace accommodations and part-time work, and income and poverty, there continues to be large disparities between workers with disabilities and those without.
Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)
Two policy tools that states can utilize to help build an equitable economy is adopting or strengthening state minimum wage and state earned income tax credits (EITCs). Both policies will boost incomes for low-wage working families, reach systematically excluded populations, and reduce poverty, especially among children. This report outlines the benefits of including both policies for families and has been updated to include the EITC and minimum wage status of each state.
Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)
Contingent workers and workers in alternative work arrangements have become increasingly popular in theoretical and policy thinking regarding how employment has changed over the years and what the future of work holds. Until recently, only poor information on the breadth of contingent work and nonstandard work arrangements has been available. In May 2017, the Contingent Worker Supplement (CWS), released and conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), provided an opportunity to analyze how contingent work and nonstandard work arrangements has changed over the last couple decades, 22 years after the first CWS. This report examines the changes between 2005 and 2017 with a specialization in how older workers have managed.
Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE)
This report highlights the effects of raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 on the U.S. labor force, businesses, and consumers, as well as on the state of Mississippi. The authors found that increasing the minimum wage to $15 would increase earnings for about 41.5 million workers and annual pay would increase by 17.3 percent. Mississippi would see a small increase in employment growth, adding about 90,000 more jobs.
Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR)
This report analyzes the widening of the gender wage gap of full-time workers in the US between 2017 and 2018. The authors analyze the gender wage ratio and the real earnings between full-time workers from 1955 to 2018 and calculates the median weekly earnings and gender earnings ratio for full-time workers by race and ethnicity.
Automation, artificial intelligence, and other technological changes look to innovate the future economy. With inconsistent reports on what the impact of these technological advances will have on workers, what’s vitally missing in literature is taking into account the perspective of different genders. This report aims to contextualize the potential impact of technological change on women and men’s employment with an emphasis on the likely effects for women.
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
This report outlines the effects that automation and other types of technological change have on labor demand in the context of production. The authors argue that automation will inevitably reduce labor share in value-added because automation would shift the task content of production against labor due to a displacement effect. However, automation can reinstate labor by the creation of new tasks in which people have a comparative advantage, thus raising labor share and labor demand.
Using administrative payroll data, the authors compile new facts about nominal wage adjustments in the United States. The data helps define a worker’s per-period base contract wage separately from other forms of compensation. The report offers evidence that the degree to which base wages adjust is likely the more suitable concept of wage stickiness in many macro models. The authors also note the differences in the adjustment patterns of base wages and of more extensive wage measures that include bonuses. The results can be used to discipline models of nominal wage rigidity.
This report identifies analyzes the benefits and implications of the advancement of artificial intelligence and automation. There are two types of AI, the good kind and the wrong kind. The good kind of automation creating new tasks activities in which workers can be productively employed. However, the author warns of how the wrong kind of AI can stagnate labor demand, reduce labor share in national income, boost inequality, and lower productivity growth.
Using a novel panel data set of recent immigrants to the US from 2005-2007, the authors identify the determinants of return migration and earnings assimilation. The authors utilized individual-level linked US Census Bureau survey data and Internal Revenue Service administrative records in order to analyze the panel set data of recent immigrants.The report shows 10 years after arrival, almost 40 percent of immigrants had returned migrated. Those return immigrants faced downward earnings mobility within the first few years of their return migration.
National Employment Law Project
Gig companies have been uniting with corporate allies and powerful lobbyists to influence a campaign to rewrite worker classification standards in order lock gig workers into independent contractor statuses and strip them of their basic labor rights and protections. This campaign would allow companies to avoid payroll taxes and worker lawsuits to the detriment of workers. The report outlines the policy campaign, the actors involved, where they are generating support, and the tactics these companies are using to advance their cause. This report also provides examples of successful resistance efforts and what lessons can be derived from them.Workplace Safety Enforcement Continues to Decline in Trump Administration
More than 5,000 workers were killed on the job in 2018 and nearly three million workers endured an injury or illness serious enough to warrant medical attention or to take time off work. Under the Trump Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforcement activity has been declining for the past couple years, even though this program is crucial to saving workers’ lives. This report outlines the data released by OSHA detailing the low numbers of complicated and high-penalty cases, OSHA inspectors, and the number OSHA inspections in 2017 and 2018 under the Trump Administration.
Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA)
Using Health and Retirement Study data linked to summary plan descriptions and W-2s, the authors examine trends in retirement wealth inequality of older employees from 1992-2010. The study found that retirement wealth is extremely unequal with the bottom quintile holding 1 percent of retirement wealth and the top quintile holding 49 percent. The report concludes that the retirement system is failing all retirees, with those at the bottom suffering the most. Systemic failures are creating larger disparities along with new inequalities not because of income or similar earnings, but rather due to access and coverage.
This report uses data for 274 US cities for the years 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010 to measure economic and racial inclusion at the city level across the country. Comparing these inclusion measures with the Gini coefficient of cities, the authors found that inequality and inclusion are not highly correlated and reductions in income inequality may result in the reduction of residents of color within a city.Leading by Example: Public Sector Apprenticeships in Kentucky
This report analyzes the process and outcome of the initiative executed by Kentucky to build talent for their state government through apprenticeship programs to enhance skills and increase productivity. The early effects are seen to be positive with employers, employees, and overall workforce seeing benefits from the program. The early success of adopting apprenticeship programs may indicate success for the expansion to other areas.