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Government Spending on the Forbes 400 Compared with Government Spending on Kids Print
Written by Dean Baker   
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 09:37

It is a popular sport in policy circles to complain that the government spends so much more on seniors that it spends on kids. The gap between spending on seniors and spending on kids comes from taking average Social Security and Medicare benefits, along with some other programs, and showing that is vastly exceeds what we spend on kids. (The calculation usually leaves out state and local expenditures, which accounts for the bulk of education spending.)

The problem with this calculation is that seniors have paid for Social Security and Medicare benefits through the payroll taxes taken out of their paycheck over their working lifetime. According to calculations from the Urban Institute, the typical retiree pays more into Social Security than she can expect to get back in benefits.



Labor Market Policy Research Reports, October 10 – October 16 Print
Written by Janine Duffy   
Thursday, 16 October 2014 16:01

The following reports on labor market policy were recently released:

Center for American Progress

A Win-Win for Working Families and State Budgets: Pairing Medicaid Expansion and a $10.10 Minimum Wage
Rachel West and Michael Reich

Retailer Revelations: Why America’s Struggling Middle Class Has Businesses Scared
Brendan V. Duke and Ike Lee



Work-Family Policies Can Stem the Decline in Women’s Employment Print
Written by Janine Duffy   
Friday, 10 October 2014 14:39

Back in 2000, a higher share of U.S. women aged 25 to 54 were employed than was the case for prime age women in six of our peers in the OECD. Newly released data from the OECD (see figure below) show that the rate has declined, in both relative and absolute terms, over the last 14 years and is now the lowest in the group, a trend clearly visible in the graph below. Even Japan, which in 2000 was more than 10 percentage points below the U.S. now has a higher share of prime age women in employment.



Labor Market Policy Research Reports, October 3 – October 9 Print
Written by Janine Duffy   
Thursday, 09 October 2014 16:00

The following reports on labor market policy were recently released:

Center for American Progress

Harnessing the EITC and Other Tax Credits to Promote Financial Stability and Economic Mobility
Rebecca Vallas, Melissa Boteach, and Rachel West



Labor Market Policy Research Reports, September 26 – October 2 Print
Written by Janine Duffy   
Friday, 03 October 2014 07:47

The following reports on labor market policy were recently released:

Center on Wisconsin Strategy

Raising the Quality of Childcare: Examples of Private/Public Training Partnerships in Childcare and Other Industries
Jody Knauss and Laura Dresser



Jobs Flash: Job Growth Picks Up Pace in September Print
Written by Dean Baker   
Friday, 03 October 2014 07:26

The economy added 248,000 jobs in September. This growth, along with upward revisions to the prior two month's data, brings the 3-month average to 224,000. The unemployment rate also dropped to 5.9 percent, the first time it has been below 6.0 percent since July of 2008. In spite of the rapid job creation, there was no change in the employment-to-population ratio which remained fixed at 59.0 percent. In fact, labor force participation fell by 0.3 percentage points for white men in September and 0.2 percentage points for white women.

The number of people involuntarily employed part-time by fell 174,000 to 7,103,000. This is extraordinarily high given the unemployment rate. The number of people choosing to work part time rose slightly and now stands 642,000 above its year-ago level. This presumably is the result of people taking advantage of Obamacare and getting insurance through the exchanges or expanded Medicaid rather than their employers.

By sector, the biggest job gains were in retail (35,300), employment services (33,600), health care (22,600) and restaurants (20,400). Wages have grown at a 2.0 percent annual rate over the last three months, the same as their rate of increase over the last year.

*CEPR's Jobs Flash is published each month upon release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment report. It previews the more detailed Jobs Byte, which is published later in the day*

CEPR News - September 2014 Print
Written by Dawn Lobell   
Thursday, 02 October 2014 09:41

The following newsletter highlights CEPR's latest research, publications, events and much more.



The Big Tax Increase Nobody Noticed Print
Written by Dean Baker and Nicole Woo   
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 08:35

The 2011-12 Social Security payroll tax holiday ended in January 2013, which meant that the vast majority of working Americans faced a two percent cut in their take-home pay. 

Compared to past payroll tax increases, this was an extraordinarily large and sudden one. For example, from 1980 to 1990 the rate was increased gradually by a total of 2.24 percentage points; in no year did the rate rise by more than 0.72 percentage points, or just over one-third of the 2013 increase. (This combines the employer and employee side tax increases. In 2013, the whole tax increase was on the employee side.)



Today, Health Insurance Fuels Entrepreneurship Print
Written by Janine Duffy   
Monday, 29 September 2014 13:43


Labor Market Policy Research Reports, September 19 – September 25 Print
Written by Janine Duffy   
Thursday, 25 September 2014 14:04

The following reports on labor market policy were recently released:

Center for American Progress

Innovations in Apprenticeship
Sarah Ayres Steinberg and Ethan Gurwitz



Labor Market Policy Research Reports, September 12 – September 18 Print
Written by Janine Duffy   
Monday, 22 September 2014 13:31

The following reports on labor market policy were recently released:


Center for American Progress

5 Policies for Improving Data Use to Accelerate Veteran Employment
Aneesh Chopra and Ethan Gurwitz



Health Insurance: Healthy for Entrepreneurship? Print
Written by Janine Duffy   
Thursday, 18 September 2014 09:16

A new paper by Gareth Olds finds that the availability of publicly funded insurance may have boosted entrepreneurship by allowing parents to start their own businesses while maintaining health insurance coverage for their children. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides health insurance to children in families with incomes too high for Medicaid but below a higher cutoff that varies by state.



Today, ACA Boosts Voluntary Part-Time Employment Print
Written by Dean Baker   
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 10:49




Labor Market Policy Research Reports, August 22 - September 11 Print
Written by Janine Duffy   
Thursday, 11 September 2014 14:13

Labor Market Policy Research Reports, August 22 – September 11

The following reports on labor market policy were recently released:

Center for American Progress

Administrative Action on Immigration Reform: The Fiscal Benefits of Temporary Work Permits
Patrick Oakford

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

House Bill Would Raise Small Business Premiums and Undercut Health Reform’s Consumer Protections
Edwin Park

State Earned Income Tax Credits and Minimum Wages Work Best Together
Erica Williams and Chris Mai




Wage Inequality: A Story of Policy Choices Print
Written by John Schmitt   
Thursday, 11 September 2014 10:09

The September 2014 issue of New Labor Forum includes an article(paywalled) by Larry Mishel (President of the Economic Policy Institute), Heidi Shierholz (until recently an economist at EPI, now Chief Economist at the Department of Labor), and me offering our explanation for the rise in wage inequality since the end of the 1970s.

From the introduction:

The mainstream of the economics profession offers one over-riding explanation for the rise in inequality: workers who have the skills needed for new technologies have done well, while those lacking those skills have fallen farther and farther behind. …We take a different view. We believe that it is possible to explain the entire rise of economic inequality since the late 1970s as the outcome of an array of economic policies that had the easy-to-predict effect of widening the gap between the top 1 percent and the rest.

Over each of the last three decades, macroeconomic policy (fiscal, exchange rate, monetary policies), trade agreements, deregulation of the financial sector, the legal environment governing unionization, the minimum wage, industry deregulation (in airlines, trucking, inter-state busing, and elsewhere), the privatization of state and local government functions, and other policies have had different effects on different kinds of workers, helping some and hurting others. … Together, we argue, these policies can explain changes in wage trends for workers—both men and women—across the wage distribution.


This post originally appeared on John Schmitt's blog, No Apparent Motive. September 11, 2014

DATA FLASH: Job Growth Slows Further in August Print
Written by Dean Baker   
Friday, 05 September 2014 07:39

The pace of job growth slowed sharply to 142,000 in August. Coupled with downward revisions to June's data, this brings the average rate of job growth over the last three months to 207,000. The sharp dropoff was due in part to flat employment in manufacturing after two months of healthy growth and a drop in employment of 8,400 in retail. Wage growth was little changed. Over the last three months, the average hourly wage has risen at a 2.3 percent annual rate, virtually identical to the 2.1 percent rate over the last year.

On the household side there was little change. The unemployment rate edged down slightly to 6.1 percent, but the employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) remained stable at 59.0 percent. By education level, college grads don't seem to be faring well at this point in the recovery. Their unemployment edged up to 3.2 percent, while their EPOP fell 0.2 percentage points to 72.2 percent. Over the the last year, their unemployment rate has fallen by just 0.3 percentage points, while the EPOP of college grads is actually down by 0.6 percentage points. By comparison, those with some college have seen a drop of 0.7 percentage points in their unemployment rate and a rise of 0.4 percentage points in their EPOP.

Patently Absurd: the Ice Bucket Challenge in Another Context Print
Written by Ben Wolcott   
Thursday, 28 August 2014 13:33

Social media and the commentariat are abuzz with updates and analysis on the Ice Bucket Challenge, an internet phenomenon where people do some combination of dumping cold water on themselves and donating money, raising over $90 million for the ALS Foundation so far.  While the ice bucket challenge has drawn support and criticism from various corners, it’s worth pointing out that foundations like the ALS Foundation, which fights “Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front,” exist in their current imperfect form because of the structure of patent law.



Part 2: Returns to Whose College Degree? Print
Written by Ben Wolcott   
Wednesday, 27 August 2014 14:05

In a recent post, I argued that Avery and Turner’s research, cited by The New York Times' David Leonhardt, ignores the experiences of students of color. For a variety of reasons, such as labor market discrimination, workers’ outcomes diverge significantly based on race. Research from CEPR, for example, showed that in 2013, recent black college graduates had more than double the unemployment rate (12.4 percent) of recent college graduates in general (5.6 percent), and more than half (55.9 percent) worked in jobs that do not require a college degree. Against this background, simply looking at the average return to college does not cut it; the payoffs are smaller and less certain for some groups of students than the overall average suggests.



Part 1: Returns to Whose College Degree? Print
Written by Ben Wolcott   
Monday, 25 August 2014 09:49

As college students head back to school and costs rise faster than inflation even using a conservative measure, it’s worth revisiting the dispute about the value of a degree. In May, David Leonhardt declared the debate closed, citing a paper by David Autor and explaining that the total cost of college is about negative $500,000 over the course of someone’s lifetime. (As Leonhardt notes, the original source for this estimate is a 2012 journal article by Avery and Turner.) To calculate the return to college, researchers basically subtract the costs of tuition and forgone wages from the average additional lifetime earnings associated with a college degree.



Labor Market Policy Research Reports, August 15 - August 21 Print
Written by Ben Wolcott   
Friday, 22 August 2014 13:52

The following reports on labor market policy were recently released:

Institute for Women’s Policy Research

Women in Construction and the Economic Recovery: Results from the 2013 IWPR Tradeswomen Survey
Ariane Hegewisch and Brigid O’Farrell

Economic Policy Institute

Lagging Demand, Not Unemployability, Is Why Long-Term Unemployment Remains So High
Josh Bivens and Heidi Shierholz

Low Wages and Few Benefits Mean Many Restaurant Workers Can’t Make Ends Meet
Heidi Shierholz

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