People’s access to opportunity and advancement in the labor market is shaped by macroeconomic forces, technological change, policy choices, and labor market dynamics. Over the past 40 years, these influences have culminated in greater income inequality and less upward economic mobility for US workers. They have also contributed to a growing share of low-wage jobs in the US labor market.

WorkRise generates evidence on and elevates our understanding of how macroeconomic, technological change, policy, and labor market dynamics influence economic security and mobility.

Working Knowledge

Stakeholder voices November 06, 2020

A Q&A with Darrick Hamilton

One of the nation’s leading voices and economic thinkers on racial justice, Hamilton reflects upon how race and identity shape economic and labor market outcomes.

Elisabeth Jacobs

Demographic disparities October 29, 2020

An Equitable COVID-19 Recovery Depends on Dismantling Racial Inequities in the Workplace and the Labor Market

Improving baseline job quality, increasing worker power and voice, and disaggregating data by race and ethnicity are key steps to ensuring the labor market better serves workers of color.

Wesley Jenkins

Economic context October 29, 2020

Ensuring a Recovery That Offers Greater Economic Mobility to More Americans

A bipartisan panel of economists agrees that the Covid-19 crisis has exposed past and current failures to target policies and action towards workers in low-wage jobs and industries. Now is the time to chart a more equitable course.

Sheryl Pardo

Economic context September 16, 2020

Introducing WorkRise: Building a More Equitable and Resilient Labor Market

WorkRise is designed to identify, test, and share bold new ideas for transforming the labor market for low-wage workers and accelerate their economic mobility, writes Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell.

Sarah Rosen Wartell

Research

Wages and employer-provided benefits October 07, 2020

The Challenge of Slow Wage Growth

Because of sluggish wage growth, middle- and low-wage workers in the United States are today doing little better in real terms than similarly situated workers 40 years ago, exacerbating economic burdens experienced by workers during the current COVID-19 crisis. This brief examines the evidence on wage growth for the typical worker over several decades and concludes that efforts to rebuild the U.S. labor market must include policies to accelerate wage growth.

William J. Congdon

Economic context September 16, 2020

Five Lessons from Last Decade's Employment Recovery

The employment recovery from the Great Recession offers five key lessons for policymakers, employers, and other decisionmakers as they face the employment crisis created by Covid-19.

Donald Marron