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

Economic context August 02, 2023
Research Summary

U.S. Tax Systems Perpetuate Racial Wealth Gap

Persistent income disparities between racial groups are evident – in 2022, Black men were paid 70% of the wages received by white men on average, while Black women received only 61% of the income compared to their white male counterparts.1

Oluwasekemi Odumosu

August 02, 2023
Economic context June 01, 2023

Young workers’ economic mobility has improved since the start of the pandemic, but work remains to solidify these gains

Research shows that young workers have seen significant gains in their employment prospects since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joe Peck

June 01, 2023
Economic context May 03, 2023
Research Summary

Tighter Labor Markets Boost Occupational Mobility for Workers in Low-Quality Jobs

A recent Cleveland Fed study finds that tighter labor markets facilitate job upgrading, boosting upward mobility and access to good jobs for workers in low-quality occupations.

Andrew Boardman

May 03, 2023
Economic context May 17, 2023
Research Summary

Amid a Collapsing Labor Market, Pandemic Policy Response Reduced Poverty and Inequality

Research indicates that the robust economic policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic and historically fast employment recovery resulted in reduced poverty and inequality even amid unprecedented pandemic-induced labor market dislocations, according to a recent working paper from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Andrew Boardman

May 17, 2023


Economic context Infographic September 12, 2023

Leveraging Federal Funds to Create Quality Jobs


The federal government has recently made large investments in communities across the nation, which state and local areas…

Pamela J. Loprest , Todd Greene, Ryan Kelsey

WorkRise Research

September 12, 2023
Economic context Executive Summary March 15, 2023

How Past Criminal Convictions Bar Floridians from Occupational Licensing Opportunities

In this report, the Florida Policy Institute and the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University highlight research exploring the relationship between occupational licensing and recidivism and the consequences of overregulation on workforce development. The authors also survey the landscape of Florida’s occupational licensing laws and policy reform efforts and present policy proposals to reduce professional licensing barriers for people with criminal records.

Tachana Joseph-Marc, Samuel R. Staley

Grantee Research

March 15, 2023
Social determinants of work 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

Grantee Research

March 15, 2022
Social determinants of work Report 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

Grantee Research

March 15, 2022
Employer practices Brief 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

WorkRise Research

October 07, 2020

Upcoming Events


16 - 19

Center for Financial Inclusion

Financial Inclusion Week 2023

View Event Details


05 - 08

Fed Communities

Uneven Outcomes in the Labor Market: Understanding Trends and Identifying Solutions

View Event Details

Share your ideas for research, topics, or events to be featured on Working Knowledge by emailing workingknowledge@urban.org