Overview

The federal government has a significant influence on shaping workers’ economic mobility and security. Federal laws, policies, and regulations govern wages, benefits, workplace standards, and protections against discrimination and unsafe working conditions. Federal policy governs income support and social insurance programs such as Social Security, and recent fiscal and monetary policies intended to provide economic relief to workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working Knowledge

Federal policy June 28, 2022

Roe v. Wade’s Reversal Poses a Disproportionate Threat to Black Women’s Economic Mobility

The June 24 US Supreme Court ruling, which struck down the constitutional right to an abortion, will undermine Black women’s educational attainment, occupational outcomes, and lifetime earnings.

Elisabeth Jacobs, Andrew Boardman, Archana Pyati

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Federal policy November 04, 2021

A Renewed Urgency to Strengthen Unemployment Insurance’s Automatic Triggers

Exploring how the current set of UI automatic triggers work, their limitations, and policy proposals to strengthen them.

Archana Pyati , William J. Congdon, Joseph Peck

Federal policy October 12, 2021

Lessons from Unemployment Benefit Expansions during the COVID-19 and Great Recessions

Last week’s jobs report reopens questions about the effects of pandemic-era unemployment insurance (UI) programs while they were in place, the way they were allowed to lapse, and considerations for their reintroduction.

William J. Congdon, Archana Pyati , Joseph Peck

Father and child play
Financial stability May 04, 2021

A Call to Reimagine Work and Benefits to Ensure All Workers Attain Financial Security

WorkRise and the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program convened experts to share insights on creating equitable opportunities for low- and middle-wage workers to achieve financial security.

Archana Pyati

Research

Federal policy March 29, 2022

Income Inequality, Race, and the EITC

New grantee research finds the 1993 expansion of the earned income tax credit reduced income inequality among Black and white households in the lower half of the income distribution through a significant employment response among Black households.
Supportive services March 15, 2022

Expanding Child Care Subsidies to Parents in Education and Training

A fact sheet summarizes findings from a new WorkRise report that models a hypothetical policy scenario where more parents in education and training were eligible for and received public child care subsidies.

Gina Adams, Linda Giannarelli, Nathan Sick, Kelly Dwyer

Supportive services March 15, 2022

Implications of Providing Child Care Assistance to Parents In Education and Training

New WorkRise research uses microsimulation to model a hypothetical policy scenario where more parents in education and training were eligible for and received public child care subsidies.

Gina Adams, Linda Giannarelli, Nathan Sick, Kelly Dwyer

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

Demographic disparities September 28, 2020

Racial Inequality in the Labor Market and Employment Opportunities

This brief explores the persistent inequities and disparities in outcomes experienced by people of color in the U.S. labor market through key data points, delves into root causes based on a review of the evidence, and identifies key gaps in our knowledge of why and how labor market inequality endures.

K. Steven Brown