Labor Market Policy Research Reports, January 2019

January 29, 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

Seasonally and Weather-Adjusting the Monthly Jobs Numbers

The author calculates three alternative projections for the employment report conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the month of December using three different measures accounting for alternative seasonal adjustments and weather patterns.

Center for American Progress (CAP)

How Workers Get Paid is Changing: Consumer Protections Need to Catch Up

Over time, cash and checks have been widely substituted by electronic forms of payment, changing the way workers are paid. Notably, many workers are paid through payroll cards which are an electronic form of compensation similar to a prepaid debit card. The authors examine the various risks and fees carried with payroll cards and the vastly limited consumer protection with electronic payment practices which leaves many low-wage workers vulnerable to predatory attacks on their wealth.

The Freedom to Leave

Many companies have required workers across income and educational attainment, to sign restrictive contractual agreements such as non-compete and no-poaching agreements. Consequently, these agreements restrict workers from moving to better jobs or starting new businesses, restraining labor market competition and driving wage stagnation.The authors propose three solutions that states should do to prevent firms from using these agreements to repress competition and workers’ wages, but rather boost workers pay and freedom in the economy.

Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)

Chart Book: The Legacy of the Great Recession

This report details the recovery of the economy using charts following the Great Recession, occurring from December 2007 to June 2009. With updated employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for December 2018, the charts assess the damage of the economy following the recession as well as the alternative outcomes if the financial stabilization and the fiscal stimulus policies weren’t enacted in late 2008 and early 2009.

Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

Union Membership Byte 2019

This report analyzes the data of union membership released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the year of 2018. The authors present trends of union membership in the private sector and the public sector, including federal, state, and local government. Due to the partial government shutdown, CEPR’s more in-depth analyses use the first 11 months of 2018 data. This report will be updated when the data are available.

Economic Policy Institute (EPI)

Labor Market Impact of the Proposed Sprint–T-Mobile Merger

This report evelautes the labor market implications of the Sprint and T-Mobile merger. When the combined company hires workers to staff their retail stores, the authors argue that due to increased labor market concentration in US labor markets, the earnings of workers and labor market competition would decrease exponentially.

Updated Employment Multipliers fo the U.S. Economy
This brief calculates employment multipliers by industry to illustrate the industry specific ripple effects of lost economic output or lost jobs. Employment multipliers measure how the creation or destruction of output or employment in a particular industry translates into wider employment changes throughout the economy.

Center for Labor, Research, and Education

Teacher Pensions vs. 401(k)s in Six States

Many public school teachers are supported by traditional pensions that reward long-term service. Attempting to assess the current teacher workforce, the authors survey six states to see if most public school teachers that work long enough in their state will amass higher benefits than if covered by a 401(k) savings plan of equal value.

National Bureau of Economic Research

Uncertainty About Future Income: Initial Beliefs and Resolution During College

Using data from the Berea Panel Study, the authors describe how much income uncertainty exists for students entering college and how long that uncertainty persists. The authors distributed surveys to students to measure their beliefs on future earnings and to determine the factors that may influence their uncertainty.

The Effect of Minimum Wages on Low-Wage Jobs: Evidence from the United States Using a Bunching Estimator

This paper introduces a novel method to find the employment effect of minimum wage increases by comparing the amount of excess jobs that pay at or slightly above the minimum wage to the lost jobs paying below it.

Measuring Opportunity in U.S. Higher Education

When measuring whether universities are providing for low-income students, institutions use three measures—the Pell Share, Bottom Quintile share, and Intergenerational Mobility—to access the needs of students with different incomes and different preparations. This report identifies that universities that ranked highly on these measures of opportunity serve disproportionately few low-income students as well as universities that are given penalties on these measures of opportunity serve many low-income students. The authors argue that these measures can create unintended consequences and alter university decision making while also proposing a new measure that will have benchmarks to measure income and preparation for all students.

Female Earnings Inequality: The Changing Role of Family Characteristics on the Extensive and Intensive Margins

Gender inequality in the workforce is a pervasive issue, even though women make up almost half of the US workforce. This report examines earnings inequality for women in two lenses — the extensive margin which is the decision to work and the intensive margin which is the level of earnings conditional to work. Using data from the University of Michigan’s PSID, the authors examine the rise and fall of inequality in annual earnings using both the extensive and intensive margins.

Do State Laws Protecting Older Workers from Discrimination Reduce Age Discrimination in Hiring? Evidence from a Field Experiment

The authors provide data from a field experiment in all 50 states measuring age discrimination in hiring for retail sales jobs. Using this evidence, they evaluate the correlation of states with anti-discrimination laws that allow larger damages with the age discrimination of older workers applying for retail jobs in that state. Additionally, this report proposes broader anti-discrimination laws to protect older workers and avoid unintended consequences of deterring hiring.

Gender in the Labor Market: The Role of Equal Opportunity and Family-Friendly Policies

This report considers whether there are gender distinctions in access to employer-provided paid leave, childcare, and work scheduling flexibility. Using two datasets, the American Time Use Survey and the NLSY97, the data show that women are less likely to have access to employer-provided paid leave than men, but young women are more likely to have access to specifically designated paid parental leave, respectively. The authors conclude with a discussion of policy provisions to reduce this disparity.

From Immigrants to Robots: The Changing Locus of Substitutes for Workers

Automation is drastically changing the world of work, raising concern about how robots and other new technologies can impact the labor market. Applying the numbers of robots shipped to manufacturing industries, this report estimates that an additional robot reduces employment by two to three workers and by three to four workers in certain sectors which eclipses the effects of an additional immigrant on employment and wages. The authors argue that the growth of automation will have a pronounced impact on future labor markets.

Variation in Women’s Success Across PhD Programs in Economics

This report analyzes the extensive changes in women’s representation and advancement across graduate programs in economics. Using both qualitative and quantitative data, the authors survey anonymous economic departments on early career outcomes for recent women graduates and evaluate ways to expand representation in the field.

Discrimination at the Intersection of Age, Race, and Gender: Evidence from a Lab-in-the-field Experiment

Using a laboratory experiment and randomized resumes, this report examines the effects of race on employment discrimination over time. The effects illustrate trends of racial discrimination of prime-age, middle-age, and older black applicant workers. The authors also analyze the evidence of statistical discrimination that some screeners possess when choosing white applicants over black applicants and the disparity between statistical discrimination of black women applicants in contrast to black male applicants.

National Employment Law Project (NELP)

Raises from Coast to Coast

This paper reviews the minimum wage increases in states, cities, and counties around the country in 2019 and 2020 including the states that had raised its wage floor due to factors like cost of living.

National Partnership for Women and Working Families

Better Together: Policies to Expand insurance Coverage and Promote Supportive Workplaces Help Families Thrive
This issue brief demonstrates that very few states have policies to address the intersecting needs of women and families, and it outlines how the health and financial security of women and families are positively affected by having comprehensive health insurance and supportive workplaces.

Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA)

Older Men’s Bargaining Power Hit by 36% Decrease in Job Tenure

As the American workforce continues to age, older workers and retirement readiness (or lack thereof), will continue to forge the strength of workers’ buying power and future employment patterns. This paper analyzes the report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on employment for the month of December, specifically for older workers. Using empirical data, the authors track trends for the unemployment rates and earnings of older workers as well as the share of older workers without pensions.

Old Age Poverty: Single Women & Widows

The authors research the prevalence of poverty among older, single and divorced women which are higher than among couples and men 65 years and older. The report highlights the lack of retirement security specifically for older women and how both single and divorced older women would benefit from the establishment of Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRA’s), an independent lifetime source of retirement income.

UCLA  Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE)

How Can Universities Foster Educational Equity for Undocumented College Students: Lessons from the University of California

Undocumented immigrants face various barriers when pursuing higher education across the country. The report analyzes what methods universities can use to instill educational equity among undocumented immigrants, specifically in the University of California system. Using quantitative and qualitative data, the researchers evaluate University of California schools on existing barriers and productive programs for undocumented undergraduate students.

United for a Fair Economy (UFE)

State Of The Dream 2019: The Perfect Storm

The report highlights the intersection between economic injustice through regressive taxation and major, natural disasters. Combined, economic injustice and major disasters compound to create devastating outcomes for people of color. The authors take accounts from advocacy groups and leaders to assess the effects of the Trump administration’s tax plan on people of color and how natural disasters create opportunities for the wealthy minority, reinforcing inequality.

Urban Institute

How Secure Is Employment at Older Ages?

Using the Health and Retirement Study from 1992 to 2016, the authors find that half of the full-time workers age 51-54 face employer-related involuntary job separation which reduces earnings and leads to persistent unemployment. The author argues that this trend will soon increase as people work longer to be more comfortable in retirement, which has the repercussions of long-term economic and retirement hardship for older workers.

Economic Mobility Services for Affordable Housing Residents

This report examines services that help low-income individuals and households achieve economic mobility, specifically affordable housing providers. Using interviews from leading organizations and initiatives in the field, the authors compile a resource of organizations offering economic mobility strategies and discuss some of the obstacles affecting affordable housing provider when trying to establish upward mobility for their residents along with changes that need to be made to overcome these challenges.

Will Living Standards Decline for Future Retirees?

This report analyzes how the volatility of lifetime earnings, retirement plan participation, and wealth accumulation will impact the future economic wellbeing of older workers.

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