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.
In this Washington Post commentary, Robert Lerman and Stuart Eizenstat argue that the U.S. manufacturing sector is poised for a comeback, but faces serious workforce challenges. To avoid squandering the opportunity to sustain a manufacturing resurgence, the U.S. must match the quality and quantity of skills training achieved in many other countries. One way to do this is a 21st-century apprenticeship program. By training youth and adults through a combined work-based learning and classroom instruction program leading to a recognized and valued occupational credential, apprenticeships can increase employment, while insuring a close match between the skills learned and the skills required.
The exclusion of employer-sponsored health insurance premiums and medical benefits reduced federal tax revenues by $268 billion in 2011 alone-by far the largest federal tax expenditure. Moreover, the exclusion disproportionately subsidizes those with higher incomes. In this brief, we provide estimates of the revenue potential and distributional consequences of limiting the exclusion from income and payroll taxes at the 75th percentile of 2013 premiums, indexing by GDP. The policy would produce $264.0 billion in new tax revenues over the coming decade while preserving 93 percent of the tax subsidies available under the current policy.
Extended job loss dealt a serious financial blow to many workers during the Great Recession and recovery. Despite the protection provided by unemployment insurance benefits, family incomes fell 40 percent or more for half of workers unemployed for at least six consecutive months between August 2008 and December 2011. About a quarter began experiencing economic hardship, including more than a third of African Americans, Hispanics, and unmarried adults. Social Security shielded most workers ages 62 and older from the worst outcomes, although early retirees receive lower monthly retirement checks for the rest of their lives, possibly causing financial hardship later.
This study considers nonworking older adults and their channels of support before qualifying for Social Security benefits. Results show that among adults ages 55 to 61, nonearners are more likely than earners to be poor, to be concerned about not having adequate resources for retirement, and to be dissatisfied with their retirement when they do retire. However, nonearners are a heterogeneous group. A large share is poor, with low incomes and limited wealth. But a sizeable share is income-poor and asset-rich. More than for singles, this phenomenon characterizes nonworking married adults, who are generally better off than their unmarried counterparts.
We compared the employment of African American and white youth as they transitioned to adulthood from age 18 to 22, focusing on high school graduates and high school dropouts who did not attend college. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997, we found significant differences in labor market participation by race and education. Among key findings, African American high school graduates worked as much and sometimes less than white high school dropouts. Findings suggest however, that the improved labor market participation associated with a high school diploma is higher over time for African Americans than for white youth.