Overview

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

Couple looking at the damage done to their home and yard after a fire.
Economic context November 22, 2022

How Can the Forces of Change Be Harnessed to Create an Inclusive and Equitable Labor Market?

Greater public and private investment in job training, policies to support unionization, and efforts to close digital divides are core strategies for transforming risks from climate change and automation into opportunity, noted experts at the WorkRise October conference.

Joseph Peck

Economic context August 11, 2022

Policymakers Face Trade-offs in Supporting Workers’ Economic Mobility and Protecting Them from Inflation

Mixed signals for the economy and low-wage workers in particular—higher wages but also growing inflation—pose thorny trade-offs for policymakers and raise important questions to be prioritized in future research.

Joseph Peck

Economic context May 26, 2022

New and Noteworthy: Research on inflation’s impact on low-income families, parental labor force attachment, and more

This month’s column shares a new analysis showing recent wage gains by low-income households could not keep up with rising prices. Plus: new studies tracking parents’ employment during the pandemic and recovery and a new measure of systemic discrimination.

Archana Pyati

Economic context April 26, 2022

New and Noteworthy: New research on labor market competition, degree resets in job posting, and more

This month’s column highlights a new US Treasury report that finds an insufficiently competitive labor market has given employers market power to lower workers’ earnings.

Archana Pyati

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