Policy & Analysis

Employment fell because of the Great Recession, not the minimum wage: Study claiming the minimum wage harmed low-wage workers fails conventional tests

Beginning in 2007, there were two major developments in the U.S. economy. The federal minimum wage rose in steps from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour, and overall employment growth slowed significantly as the country began its descent into the Great Recession. A recent paper by Jeffrey Clemens and Michael Wither argues that the national minimum wage...

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Exploring the consequences of charter school expansion in U.S. cities

Executive Summary

This report highlights patterns of charter school expansion across several large and mid-size U.S. cities since 2000. In this report, the focus is the loss of enrollments and revenues to charter schools in host districts and the response of districts as seen through patterns of overhead expenditures. I begin by identifying those...

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Still falling short on hours and pay: Part-time work becoming new normal

What this report finds: An ongoing structural shift toward more intensive use of part-time employment by many employers is driving the elevated rate of involuntary part-time work. Over six years into an economic recovery, the share of people working part time because they can only get part-time hours remains at recessionary levels. The number...

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Employment continues its sluggish recovery along racial lines in the third quarter of 2016

In September 2016, the national unemployment rate increased to 5.0 percent, a slight uptick from 4.9 percent at the end of the second quarter in June 2016. Over the third quarter, 19 states saw their unemployment rates decline, while 30 states saw unemployment rise. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have unemployment rates below their...

Read more: Employment continues its sluggish recovery along racial lines in the third quarter of 2016

State labor markets continue their slow recoveries

The October State Employment and Regional Employment data, released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, show state labor markets have mostly continued their trend towards economic recovery. Over the last quarter, a majority of states have seen job growth, no change in unemployment rates, or only slight employment declines, along with...

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Testimony on the Fair Wage Amendment Act of 2016

EPI Senior Economist Elise Gould delivered the following testimony before the Council of the District of Columbia Subcommittee on Workforce on November 29, 2016.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak on this important issue. I am Elise Gould, Senior Economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank...

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The new overtime rule will benefit millions of workers across the country

The Department of Labor’s new overtime rule, which takes effect on December 1, significantly increases the number of people who qualify for time-and-a-half pay for any hours they work beyond 40 in a week. Under the old, outdated rule, workers paid a poverty level salary of $23,660 per year could be considered exempt executives or...

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When it comes to the minimum wage, we cannot just ‘leave it to the states’

On Election Day, majorities of voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington all voted through ballot measures to raise their state minimum wages. By 2020, the minimum wage will be $12 in Arizona, Colorado, and Maine, and $13.50 in Washington. These increases come on the heels of legislative increases passed earlier this year in California,...

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A majority of low-wage workers earn so little they must rely on public assistance to make ends meet

There is an enduring myth that people who rely on public assistance are unwilling to work. However, there are 41.2 million working Americans (nearly 30 percent of the workforce) who receive public assistance—and nearly half of these workers (19.3 million) have full-time jobs. Not surprisingly, these workers are concentrated in jobs paying...

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Mandatory arbitration unfairly tilts the legal system in favor of corporations and employers

Employers are increasingly forcing employees to give up their right to sue in court and to accept private arbitration as their only remedy for violations of statutory and common law rights. Private arbitration can forbid class actions, limit damages, allow the employer to choose the arbitrator, and cut off appeals, resulting in a system unfairly...

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The real American retirement crisis: Too many seniors are working or poor

Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute claims there is no retirement crisis in the United States. Citing a recent report showing that senior incomes are high relative to other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Biggs downplays the fact that many American seniors are not retired: 30 percent of...

Read more: The real American retirement crisis: Too many seniors are working or poor

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