The federal jobs program I’ve described doesn’t have the intuitive simplicity of the universal basic income. But it serves critical purposes that the basic income doesn’t and should be an integral part of a broad-based agenda to address rapidly changing economic conditions. Adopting a federal jobs program could enhance our work force and increase our nation’s output while providing people with the self-worth and economic opportunity that work can provide.
According to a report published yesterday (Nov. 1) by the Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative linked to US think tank Brookings Institution, “Although Japanese women now participate in the labor force at a higher rate (than American women), their labor market experiences are often less rewarding.
Women’s labor force participation and the quality of women’s labor market opportunities are dual objectives, both contributing to economic growth. Working within this framework, The Hamilton Project’s recent book, entitled The 51%: Driving Growth through Women’s Economic Participation, put forward policies to both increase women’s labor force participation and improve their economic outcomes.
The Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project calculates that 30% of American immigrants have less than a high school diploma, while 35% have a college degree or higher. Only 22% of Canadian immigrants lack a high school diploma, while more than 46% have gone to college.
A report from the Brookings Institute and the Hamilton Project finds the cost of care to blame for a steady drop in the number of adults who are employed or looking for a job. More than 70 percent of those surveyed in their study said that caregiving kept them out of the workforce. Too often caregivers, who predominantly are women, have to leave their jobs because the burden of family care is not affordable or sustainable. And they often neglect their own health and personal needs.
There is no reason to think, with continued income weakness, that we will not see a similarly discontented electorate in upcoming elections — including because the Trump administration, like its recent predecessors, will not have delivered better household economics. Which suggests volatile voting behavior again. And with a right-wing candidate having won the presidency last year, and voters often seeking the opposite in the next election, don’t be surprised if a distinctly left-wing candidate takes the White House in 2020. President Sanders, anyone?
The majority of Americans share in economic growth through the wages they receive for their labor, rather than through investment income. Unfortunately, many of these workers have fared poorly in recent decades. Since the early 1970s, the hourly inflation-adjusted wages received by the typical worker have barely risen, growing only 0.2% per year. In other words, though the economy has been growing, the primary way most people benefit from that growth has almost completely stalled.
And at a policy forum last week at Stanford University, a group of experts reminded us of some of those reforms. The forum, co-hosted by the Hamilton Project, LeanIn.org, and the Stanford Law School, focused on increasing economic opportunities for women; many of the policy proposals released in conjunction with the event are focused on the kinds of things that are perceived as "women's issues," but of course affect all Americans across the income spectrum: encouraging female labor force participation, increasing the economic security of older women, investing in child care, and establishing a paid parental leave program.
Such disinvestment shows up in my final figure, from a must-read new study on the wage problem from the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project. The figure shows the persistent fall-off in labor’s share of income, which predated the last recession. Tightening labor markets have helped to stop the fall, but again, if the job market were really that tight, I’d expect to see this metric climbing back up.
Jay Shambaugh, Director of the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project, tells Axios that while the Census numbers are a good sign, they don't necessarily indicate that employers are raising pay. "Household income is going to include changes in how much you're working. Even if wages are growing just modestly, you now have people working who were unemployed, or have moved from part- to full-time jobs," he says.
Jay Shambaugh, The Hamilton Project director, sifts through the data to provide a look at what it takes for American workers to get a raise.
In the past decade, real-wage growth has been stronger than during the economic cycles of the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, according to a paper the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project released Sunday. Inflation-adjusted wages have increased at a 0.82% annual rate since the recession began in late 2007. In contrast, real wages declined in the 1980s, and rose at 0.71% and 0.31% rates, respectively, in the cycles of the 1990s and early 2000s
The millions who don’t show up in the statistics are often overlooked or dismissed because they’re not employed or job seeking. But a fresh analysis by the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project reveals why a growing portion of “non-labor-force participants” are deciding work isn’t worth it. Why would anyone, after all, deliberately abandon the one activity that, above all, defines an American’s social status? These individuals seem to have opted out, but often it is the labor system that is turning away from their communities.
A recent Hamilton Project analysis calculated that—adjusting for population and demographic changes—the jobs gap, as of July 2017, is now closed. This does not mean the economy is at full employment or has no slack, but rather that enough jobs have been added to restore the share of the population working (after adjusting for demographic shifts) to where it was before the crisis began. Any slack that existed prior to the financial crisis still remains, and it’s worth noting that the prime age employment rate is still below its December 2007 level of 79.8 percent. The jobs gap is closed despite this because older workers are employed at a higher rate than previously. But, there is clearly room to lift employment rates—at a minimum back to where they were prior to the crisis.
Women staying home to take care of kids or an aging parent are the biggest group, a new analysis of 2016 labor data by the Hamilton Project shows. In total, about 24 million people, or 19 percent of Americans aged 25 to 54, didn't actively seek a job last year, according to the analysis of Federal Reserve data. Child care costs likely play a role in the persistent phenomenon, a 2014 Pew Research study showed. Whether by choice or necessity, millions of Americans continuing to sit on the economic sidelines may show a need for policy changes, said Hamilton Project Director Jay Shambaugh. ‘Child care highlights that there is something holding back some that could participate,’ he said. It's ‘certainly going to leave you with disparities.’
Since 1999, the share of U.S. adults who are either employed or job seeking has been in steady decline, according to a report from The Brookings Institution and The Hamilton Project. Economists consider labor force participation a barometer of economic vitality and an indicator of household living standards. In 2016, more than a third of American adults were not part of the workforce, with nearly a fifth of them prime working age.
A new report from the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project this week aims to shed more light on that demographic, finding that older Americans, women and those without much education are significantly more likely to sit on the sidelines than any other groups. ‘The large number of adults who are not in the labor force is a puzzle that cannot be fully accounted for by factors like baby boomers aging out of the workforce, women engaged in caregiving, or recent college graduates delaying the responsibilities of adulthood,’ the report said. Indeed, the researchers behind the study pooled government data and ultimately found that 37.2 percent of American adults – and 18.7 percent of prime-aged working adults between the ages of 25 and 54 – were not in the workforce as of 2016.
Today, the Hamilton Project put out a new paper examining who is out of the labor force…The Hamilton paper shows that the non-participation issue goes beyond retiring baby boomers (who aren’t even the largest generational cohort now) or the minority of well-off households where one adult can choose to leave the workforce.
“With the expansion entering its ninth year, and already the second longest on record, now’s the time to be looking for signs it is coming to an end. Friday’s report offered none. Job growth was solid, but not strong enough to spook the Fed. Wage growth picked up, but not enough to threaten inflation. Discouraged workers began making their way back into the job market, indicating that despite an unemployment rate of just 4.3%, there’s still some slack to fuel future growth. An important milestone was passed: the Hamilton Project calculated the U.S. job market has finally fully recovered from the Great Recession. And The Wall Street Journal calculated layoffs are at their lowest level in half a century.”
“It is an important and unresolved question whether minimum wages at the levels that will be reached in many cities and states in coming years—and that have been proposed at the federal level—will lead to meaningful reductions in employment, even where the evidence points to few or no such effects for lower minimum wages. Unfortunately, the Seattle study does little to resolve this question.”
“Ryan Nunn, an economist with the Hamilton Project, tells Axios that, adjusting for population growth, all the jobs lost in the 2009 recession are now restored. But, he said, ‘there's been a very different recovery for different kinds of Americans.’ Hamilton released a report on Friday detailing these results, using monthly jobs figures released by the federal government… ‘Whites were never hit as hard during the worst of the recession,’ says Nunn. ‘But they've actually recovered more slowly as well.’ That said, African American workers and women still remain employed at lower rates than white men.”
Ryan Nunn, an economist with the Hamilton Project, tells Axios that, adjusting for population growth, all the jobs lost in the 2009 recession are now restored. But, he said, ‘there's been a very different recovery for different kinds of Americans.’ Hamilton released a report on Friday detailing these results, using monthly jobs figures released by the federal government… ‘Whites were never hit as hard during the worst of the recession,’ says Nunn. ‘But they've actually recovered more slowly as well.’ That said, African American workers and women still remain employed at lower rates than white men.
“Until now. Employers added 209,000 jobs in July, which pushed the economy past an important milestone: When adjusted for a growing and aging population, there are now more jobs than there were at the pre-recession peak in 2007. “Nearly a full decade after the start of the recession, employment has returned to its demographically adjusted pre-recession level,” according to a new report from the Hamilton Project, which is part of the Brookings Institution. “The economy has added enough jobs to make up for losses during the Great Recession.”
“The better-than-estimated 209,000 payroll gain in July was more than enough to close what the Hamilton Project calls the ‘jobs gap.’ The measure, which adjusts for growth and aging of the population, accounts for total employment and what’s needed to absorb the number of new labor-market entrants, according to the economics offshoot of the Brookings Institution. ‘It’s sort of a mark of healing of the labor market,’ said Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, the outgoing director of the Hamilton Project. ‘That doesn’t mean we’re at full employment…and I think everybody’s worried about wage growth, but this is one marker of healing.’”