Overview

States and localities shape workers’ economic mobility and security through a number of channels. State and local agencies work with employers and workforce training providers to create economic opportunities for workers and help match people’s skills with employer needs. States and localities can also shape workers’ opportunity for upward mobility by enacting their own laws on minimum wage, occupational licensing, collective bargaining, paid leave, and programs such as universal prekindergarten.

Working Knowledge

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

Skills and training March 18, 2021

Four Reasons Why Public Sector Apprenticeships Can Help Catalyze an Economic Recovery

Public sector apprenticeships could help rebuild the public sector workforce and create pathways for young people entering the job market.

Diana Elliott, Andrew Campbell, John Marotta

Employer practices January 26, 2021

New Protections Needed for Contractors and Temporary Workers as Companies Continue to Outsource Labor

A new report highlights the need for an expansion of rights and protections for independent contractors and temporary workers, a growing share of the US workforce.

Archana Pyati

Wages and employer-provided benefits December 11, 2020

New Colorado Paid Family Leave Policy—and a Surging Pandemic—Creates Urgency for a Federal Paid Leave Program

Colorado joins eight states and Washington, DC as jurisdictions with paid family leave. Yet without a federal program, gaps in access to paid leave will persist.

Elisabeth Jacobs

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