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The Urban Institute has tracked job trends for four decades, following unskilled workers during the 1990s boom, welfare leavers taking jobs, and, more recently, older workers during the recession. Our experts study workforce development, disability and employment, and the low-skill labor market. Read more.

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State Economic Monitor: April 2014 (Series/State Economic Monitor)
Norton Francis, Brian David Moore

The latest edition of the Tax Policy Center's State and Local Finance Initiative's State Economic Monitor finds the economic recovery continues to improve slowly. No state unemployment rate increased from last year in February but long term unemployment remains a problem and is above average in most states. The Monitor reviews the health of various aspects of state economies, including employment, housing, state finances, and economic growth. This edition also reports state general fund revenue forecasts for fiscal year 2015.

Posted to Web: April 14, 2014Publication Date: April 14, 2014

Educational Attainment and Earnings Inequality among US-Born Men: A Lifetime Perspective (Research Report)
Josh Mitchell

This report tracks the lifetime earnings of men born in the U.S. between 1940 and 1974, focusing on how earnings differences by educational attainment, age, and year of birth have evolved. Both annual and lifetime earnings inequality increased dramatically for men born in the mid-1950s onward. That increase reflects both absolute earnings gains to highly educated workers (especially those with more than a four-year college degree) and absolute earnings losses to less educated workers. Earnings inequality also increases substantially among those with the same level of educational attainment, complicating standard assumptions about the lifetime value of a college degree.

Posted to Web: April 08, 2014Publication Date: April 08, 2014

Integrating Community Health Workers into a Reformed Health Care System (Research Report)
Randall R. Bovbjerg, Lauren Eyster, Barbara A. Ormond, Theresa Anderson, Elizabeth Richardson

Community health workers (CHWs) can help to achieve the goals of the Affordable Care Act—better health, better care, and lower costs. CHWs are typically laypeople whose close connections with a community enable them to win trust and improve health and health services for those they serve. However, challenges with financing structures, workforce training, and service organization can hinder the expansion of the CHW workforce. This paper highlights the roles played by CHWs, assesses evidence of their achievements, describes the increasing opportunities for them under health care reform, and considers productive next steps for growing the CHW workforce.

Posted to Web: March 26, 2014Publication Date: March 26, 2014

Opportunities for Community Health Workers in the Era of Health Reform (Research Report)
Randall R. Bovbjerg, Lauren Eyster, Barbara A. Ormond, Theresa Anderson, Elizabeth Richardson

Health reform has created a watershed moment for community health workers (CHWs). Both coverage expansions and a new focus on creating value in health care offer new opportunities for CHWs. This paper assesses existing impediments to and enablers of the expansion of CHW employment. It catalogues how the ACA and other health reform efforts affect prospects for sustainable employment for CHWs. It also looks at workforce issues, insurance enrollment needs, affordability and accessibility of services, and changes in approaches to public health and prevention. The paper concludes by highlighting particular promising opportunities for CHWs in both public and private sectors.

Posted to Web: March 26, 2014Publication Date: March 26, 2014

The Evolution, Expansion, and Effectiveness of Community Health Workers (Research Report)
Randall R. Bovbjerg, Lauren Eyster, Barbara A. Ormond, Theresa Anderson, Elizabeth Richardson

In the past decade, the community health worker (CHW) profession in the United States has increased its visibility, but its potential contributions remain underappreciated and more permanent financing is elusive. This paper describes the current state of knowledge about how and where CHWs can contribute effectively, where barriers inhibit efficient deployment of CHWs, and what business models could support change. Observations come from literature reviews, key stakeholder interviews, case studies of CHW initiatives, and a convening of practitioners, employers, advocates, policymakers, and other experts.

Posted to Web: March 26, 2014Publication Date: March 26, 2014

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