Even as the unemployment rate reaches a 50-year low, and businesses across the U.S. report more vacancies than ever, the economic recovery remains uneven for many Americans. In fact, many low-wage workers report continued difficulty in securing and maintaining consistent employment, despite the strong labor market.
Concerns ranging from automation to the erosion of pro-worker institutions have provided additional motivation for ambitious policy proposals including widespread job training, public employment, job guarantees, and employment subsidies. Subjecting these ideas to careful economic scrutiny will help ensure that policymakers make effective investments.
On December 6, The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution hosted a forum to explore the considerations that motivate employment support proposals and the merits of different approaches. It also examined the challenges and barriers facing low-wage workers who continue to find themselves either on the margins of the labor force or out of the labor force altogether.
The event included two panel discussions, featuring: Denis McDonough, senior principal, the Markle Foundation; Thea Lee, president, Economic Policy Institute; Darrick Hamilton, professor of economics and urban policy, The New School; Donald R. Cravins, Jr., senior vice president for policy and executive director of the Washington Bureau, National Urban League; Edwin Dolan, senior fellow, Niskanen Center; Soumaya Keynes, U.S. economics editor, The Economist; David Neumark, director, Economic Self-Sufficiency Policy Research Institute, University of California, Irvine; Stephanie Aaronson, vice president, Economic Studies and senior fellow, the Brookings Institution, and Emily Martin, vice president for education and workplace justice, National Women’s Law Center.
The event coincided with the release of a new Hamilton Project framing paper exploring labor market considerations that are important for evaluating job guarantee proposals.
12:30 PM Registration Opens
1:00 PM Opening Remarks
Robert E. Rubin
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary
Co-Chair Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations
1:10 PM Roundtable Discussion: Examining the Challenges Facing Workers on the Margins of the Labor Force
Senior Principal, Markle Foundation
Donald R. Cravins, Jr.
Senior Vice President for Policy and Executive Director of the Washington Bureau, National Urban League
Vice President, Economic Studies
Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
Vice President for Education and Workplace Justice, National Women’s Law Center
Moderator: Jay Shambaugh
Director, The Hamilton Project
Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
2:00 PM Roundtable Discussion: Identifying Key Considerations for Shaping Effective Employment Support Proposals
Senior Fellow, Niskanen Center
Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, The New School
President, Economic Policy Institute
Chancellor’s Professor of Economics; Director, Economic Self-Sufficiency Policy Research Institute, University of California, Irvine
Moderator: Soumaya Keynes
U.S. Economics Editor, The Economist