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

Growing cities that work for all: A capability-based approach to regional economic competitiveness

This report aims to provide a framework and inform policymakers on how the evolving economy is reshaping communities’ distinct opportunities and strengths by proposing a plan for regions to grow quality jobs through capability-based industrial development strategies. This involves firms and cities working together to see what inputs firms need to be productive and for cities to invest in those inputs in order to be more attractive and resilient.

The Center for American Progress (CAP)

A Fair Deal for Farmers

As America’s food supply chain has become more concentrated over the past few decades with the growing corporate power in agriculture, small farms and ranches have been more vulnerable to exploitation by the oligopolies these small farms do business with. This report analyzes how this market concentration across many agricultural markets impacts farm families and their communities, specifically in two key markets — corn and soybean seed, and hogs. The report concludes with three recommendations in order to increase competition, empower farmers to gain their fair share, and protect farmers from future exploitation.

Breadwinning Mothers Continue To Be the U.S. Norm

Over several decades, women’s labor force participation has increased exponentially and, currently, many women are the primary or co-breadwinners for their families. Although this can be seen as an example of the fruitful women have made to advance in the workplace and beyond, the lack of work-family policies continues to be an obstacle for women in the workplace. This report analyzes recent statistics of the likelihood of women to be breadwinners and explains that if women were supported with more modern work-family policies, it would further increase women’s earnings and affirm the economic security of families.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)

The Increasing Benefits and Diminished Costs of Running a High-Pressure Labor Market

Many economists have recognized the benefits of tight labor markets to both the economy overall and to disadvantaged groups. However, the Federal Reserve sees a tight labor market as causing inflationary pressures. This report answers the question of whether the combination of the flatter Phillips Curve and the benefits of high-pressure labor markets change the Fed’s weighting of the two sides of the tradeoff. The authors highlight the structural decline in the slope of the Phillips Price Curve (PC) and the persistence of well-anchored inflationary expectations thus concluding that the inflationary costs of running a high-pressure labor market have come down relative to the labor market benefits.


Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE)

From Unlivable Wages to Just Pay for Early Educators

Teaching in early child care and education is one of the most low-paying occupations in the United States. With wages close to poverty levels, wage compensation reform for early child care and education has received a lot more popularity among the public, policymakers, and other stakeholders. This report outlines recent research on wage standards, critiques current initiatives intended to address the low wages in early child care and education, and describes what compensation reform looks like.


Economic Policy Institute (EPI)

Class of 2019: College edition

College graduates were negatively impacted by the Great Recession, but since then have shown some signs of improvement. This report analyzes data on recent college graduates age 21-24 in order to determine the Class of 2019’s economic prospects as they embark on their career journeys. The authors find that although these recent college graduates are better off than those who graduated during the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession, when compared to those who graduated in the 2000 labor market, the Class of 2019 still faces large economic challenges such as underemployment and wage gaps among black and women workers.

Low relative pay and high incidence of moonlighting play a role in the teacher shortage, particularly in high-poverty schools

This report analyzes one of the biggest obstacles teachers face—low teacher pay. While comparing teacher compensation with compensation in non-teaching jobs, the authors delve into how these low wages contribute to the teacher shortage. Additionally, the report investigates whether teachers work multiple jobs and what share of teachers supplement their earnings by moonlighting.

Unchecked corporate power: Forced arbitration, the enforcement crisis, and how workers are fighting back

Over a year ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Epic Systems v. Lewis that employers could use forced arbitration clauses that could be used to strip workers of their right to join together in court to fight workplace injustices like wage theft, discrimination, and harassment. This report predicts that by 2024, nearly 80 percent of private-sector, nonunion workers will be covered by forced arbitration clauses, thus making the expansion of worker protections like minimum wage and earned sick and family leave critical. This report calls on Congress to override Epic Systems and protect the rights of working people by passing the Restoring Justice for Workers Act and Forced Arbitration Repeal Act, and urging states to enact “whistleblower enforcement” laws.

Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR)

Digitalization, Automation, and Older Black Women: Ensuring Equity in the Future of Work

Reports dating back to 1890 detail the high labor force participation of Black women compared to women of other races and ethnicities in the US. Although Black women today have a higher labor force participation, they are concentrated in a small number of occupations with generally poor working conditions and low pay. Unfortunately, some of these occupations may be at risk of worker displacement due to technological change. This report analyzes how automation, increased digitalization, and other forms of technological change from 2000 to 2016 may have impacted the employment and earnings of older Black women and what the projected changes could mean for Black women and their families in the future.

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Population Aging, Age Discrimination, and Age Discrimination Protections at the 50th Anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act

Seniors are an increasing share of the US labor force, due to both the aging population and increases in labor force participation among seniors. As a result, the struggles for older workers in the labor force are becoming a lot more relevant especially in the form of age discrimination. This report discusses to what extent the federal Age Discrimination Employment Act and state-level age discrimination laws actually prevent age discrimination.

National Employment Law Project (NELP)

Ending Injustice in Our Fields and Dairies: New York Should Extend Basic Labor Protections to Farmworkers

In 1937, New York state lawmakers mandated labor protections for the state workers that excluded farmworkers and workers in similar industries that disproportionately employed people of color. Since then, farmworkers have fallen victim to low wages, poor living conditions, wage theft, harassment, physical injury, and trafficking. This report advocates for stronger, fundamental labor laws in the state of New York to protect farmworkers from further exploitation and encourages farmers to organize.

Political Economy Research Institute (PERI)

Structured Conflict: Changes in Federal and State Labor Laws and Strike Activity, 1950 to 2017

This paper examines how state and federal intervention in labor-management relations may have contributed to inequality across regions and, over time, in the US. By looking at state adoption of right-to-work laws, embracement of social equity among employees of different racial, ethnic, and gender groups, and federal adjudication and administration of the National Labor Relations Act, the authors address how these factors may have impacted power dynamics between labor and management and thus affected poverty and inequality across states over time.

Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA)

2019 Q1 Status of Older Workers Report

This report analyzes the employment situation for older workers in the first quarter of 2019. The findings indicate that there has been no significant wage growth since 2007 despite the record low unemployment rates. Additionally, a rising share of older workers are resorting to alternative working arrangements which undermines their bargaining power and suppresses their wages. This report also provides policy recommendations intended to protect and enable older workers in the labor force.

How Economic Shocks Exacerbate Retirement Inequality

About 20 percent of all retirement account withdrawals are associated with household-level economic shocks This report finds that low-wage workers are not only more likely to experience economic shocks, such as job loss and divorce, but also are more likely to withdraw from their retirement savings account which compounds the preexisting inequalities in the retirement savings system.

Urban Institute

Many Adults Targeted by Medicaid Work Requirements Face Barriers to Sustained Employment

A growing number of states are close to establishing work requirements in their Medicaid programs. This report analyzes potential employment barriers for Medicaid enrollees trying to meet these requirements. Using pooled data from the September 2018 and March 2019 rounds of the Health Reform Monitoring Survey, the findings conclude that Medicaid enrollees are more likely to face employment barriers including low education attainment, health problems, limited transportation and internet access, criminal records, and residence in high-poverty and high-unemployment neighborhoods.

A Universal EITC: Sharing the Gains from Economic Growth, Encouraging Work, and Supporting Families

In order to combat wage stagnation for middle-class workers, this report analyzes and advocates for a universal earned income tax credit of 100 percent of earnings up to a maximum credit of $10,000. The child tax credit would increase from $2,000 to $2,500 and be made fully refundable. The author compares this progressive proposal to current law, its economic effects, and alternative reform options.