Archive for January 2012

Union Numbers Hold Steady

After losing 1.4 million members between 2008 and 2010, the labor movement managed a small increase in membership in 2011. Data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning show union membership rose by about 49,000 last year. In the private sector, membership jumped 110,000, which was partially offset by a decline of 61,000 […]

Low-Wage Lessons

As I write in a new CEPR briefing paper (pdf) out today, the United States leads the wealthy world in the share of its workforce in low-wage jobs. According to the commonly used international definition of low-wage work –earning less than two-thirds of the median hourly wage– about one-fourth of US workers are low-wage. The […]

Saloon Fight at the Economics Corral

Economist Miles Corak, one of the world’s leading experts on economic mobility, has written a devastating take-down of the core of two recent pieces by the Brookings Institution’s Scott Winship. Winship has been arguing that President Obama, his economics team, and many others on the political left are wrong to claim that economic mobility has […]


The current issue of Dissent includes my review of Guy Standing’s latest book, The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class.  The “precariat” is Standing’s term for the precariously employed workforce that has emerged over the last three decades and that has increasingly replaced the traditional working class. The one sentence review: a great description and diagnosis, but […]

Long-term hardship

In a new CEPR report (pdf) out today, Janelle Jones and I argue for rethinking our understanding of “long-term unemployment.” From the executive summary: First, we encourage shifting from a narrow focus on long-term unemployment toward a broader concept of “long-term hardship” in the labor market. Many workers or potential workers who do not fit […]

More on the Minimum Wage

Dean Baker and I have a piece at Salon that takes another look at the increases in the minimum wage that went into effect last Sunday in eight states and the city of San Francisco.