Labor Market Policy Research Reports, April 2019

April 25, 2019

Adewale Maye

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

Meet the millions of young adults who are out of work

An estimated 17 percent of young people aged 18 to 24 years old find themselves out of work in midsize to large cities in the US—about 2.3 million young people and potential workers. The authors use cluster analysis to partition out-of-work young adults into five groups which are arranged by educational attainment, school enrollment, English language proficiency, family status, and other characteristics. The report offers recommendations for state, local, civic, and institutional leaders to help all young people make the transition into the labor force successfully.

Center for American Progress (CAP)

Budgeting the Future

The US economy faces some of its biggest challenges from the collapsing economic security of working-class Americans due to rising  income and wealth inequality. Although these challenges, if left unchecked, can cripple the US economy, economic evidence suggests that better spending and tax policy could address many of America’s current obstacles. This report outlines guideposts for fiscal policy to help Congress and future administrations evaluate decisions moving forward and meeting today’s challenges in a fiscally responsible way.

Progressive Governance Can Turn the Tide for Black Farmers

This report describes the history of how US farm policy and private lending institutions have long discriminated against black farmers thus assisting in the eradication of black-owned farms. The authors call on inclusive and informed progressive governance to make amends by conducting strict oversight of the USDA, expand technical assistance and outreach to farmers of color, establish a public land trust for beginning farmers of color, and enact a federal law to protect inherited land from forced sales.

Economic Policy Institute (EPI)

Black unemployment is at least twice as high as white unemployment at the national level and in 14 states and the District of Columbia

In the fourth quarter of 2018, African American workers had the highest unemployment rate nationally at about 6.5 percent. This report shares the state-by-state unemployment rates by race and ethnicity, and racial/ethnic employment rate gaps for the fourth quarter of 2018. The author also finds that unemployment rates remain particularly high for African American and Hispanic workers across states relative to those of white workers and analyzes the trends for workers in these demographics.

More than eight million workers will be left behind by the Trump overtime proposal

In March 2019, the Department of Labor under Trump proposed to set the salary threshold for overtime pay to about $35,308 for a full-year worker. This overturns a rule issued by the Obama Labor Department in 2016 that raised the overtime pay salary threshold to $47,476. This report identifies that this proposal leaves behind approximately 8 million workers and analyzes how that proposal could potentially leave even more workers behind in the first 10 years of implementation.

U.S. Schools Struggle to Hire and Retain Teachers

This report identifies the significance of the teacher shortage and specific working conditions that cause it. Specifically, the authors found that a large share of public school teachers are leaving their school or leaving the profession altogether largely due to low pay, challenging school environments, and weak professional developmental support and recognition. Lastly, the report identifies the shortage and its effects are even more acute in high-poverty areas that often lack support and funding.

Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR)

The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation 2018

This report examines the gender wage gap by occupation in 2018 by analyzing women’s median earnings in comparison to men across various occupations in the US. The report also reviews the top 20 male-dominated and women-dominated occupations to compare earnings between men and women. The median weekly earnings for female and male workers by race and ethnicity for occupational groups are also taken into account which highlights an even larger disparity between Black and Hispanic female workers.

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

The Return to Hours Worked Within and Across Occupations: Implications for the Gender Wage Gap

The authors examine how hours differences between men and women represent a large component of the gender wage gap. To do so, they detail the observation wage returns to hours worked within occupations and the wage return to average hours worked across occupations. The report develops a framework that workers choose jobs as a bundle of compensations and expected hours worked.

Political Economy Research Institute (PERI)

A Green Growth Program for Colorado

This study analyzes the possibilities for a comprehensive green growth program in Colorado. Ideally, this program would be centered around clean energy investments with the goals of reducing carbon dioxide emissions in Colorado and expanding good job opportunities throughout the state while the economy continues to grow. The authors estimate the total investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy as well as how many jobs these investments will generate per year in Colorado.

Informality, Inequality, and Feminization of Labor

This report examines the evidence on the central issue of informality and inequality regarding the feminization of labor using two novel datasets. Additionally, the authors use a cross-country panel data of 125 countries to find the relationship between the size of the informal sector and income inequality.

Urban Institute

The Challenges Facing Arizona Teachers’ Retirement Plan

The Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) is a program that pays pension benefits to Arizona’s public school teachers but is sadly underfunded. Using an actuarial model, this report estimates how much taxpayers would need to pay toward ASRS to close the program’s financing gap under current benefit rules and various return scenarios.

College Premium and Its Impact on Racial and Gender Differentials in Earnings and Future Old-age Income

Although the return on the investment of a college education has been growing over the last few decades and shows evidence that it will continue to grow, the benefits are not equitably distributed. This report explores the role race and gender discrimination play on earnings and old-age income by estimating the returns to college in projected earnings in 2050 by race and gender.

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