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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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Partner Spotlight: The Data Center and the New Orleans Index (Research Report)
Alexandra Derian

During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, The Data Center developed the New Orleans Index to track storm recovery. Since then, the Index has expanded to cover a wide variety of indicators that chart long-term growth and progress in New Orleans. Indicators include job growth, employment, entrepreneurship, workforce development, incarceration, minority-owned businesses, and poverty. This article describes how the Index was developed and the ways it has been used to frame specific policy discussions about employment inequality in New Orleans.

Posted to Web: March 23, 2015Publication Date: March 23, 2015

The Impact of Informal Caregiving on Older Adults' Labor Supply and Economic Resources (Research Report)
Barbara Butrica, Nadia Karamcheva

This study analyzes the effect of informal caregiving on older adults’ labor supply and economic resources. Although we find no evidence that caregiving affects the wages or hours of workers, we do find that it reduces the likelihood of working. Men who provide personal care to parents or intensive care to spouses are less likely to work, as are women who provide intensive care to parents. As a result, over time, caregivers have a significantly higher probability of falling into poverty and also experience a smaller percentage growth in assets—particularly those who care for their spouses.

Posted to Web: March 10, 2015Publication Date: October 18, 2014

401(k) Participant Behavior in a Volatile Economy (Article)
Barbara Butrica, Karen E. Smith

The booms and busts of the late 1990s and 2000s have taken 401(k) plan participants on a rollercoaster ride. Using administrative tax records and household surveys, we examine how participants responded to these periods of economic expansions and contractions by documenting changes in 401(k) participation, contributions, and contribution rates from 1990 to 2009. Controlling for earnings, job changes, and other household factors, we find that workers reduce their 401(k) participation and contributions during recessions. Changes in participant behavior during the Great Recession, in particular, could lower 401(k) assets of the typical 30-year-old by as much as 8% at age 62.

Posted to Web: March 09, 2015Publication Date: August 01, 2014

Supporting Youth Transitioning out of Foster Care, Issue Brief 3: Employment Programs (Research Brief)
Sara Edelstein, Christopher Lowenstein

This issue brief is one of three that focus on programs providing services to youth transitioning out of foster care in three common service domains: education, employment, and financial literacy and asset building. This brief highlights why employment services are important to youth currently or formerly in foster care, what we know about the current types of programs and services offered in this service area, and the effectiveness of these services. Drawing on a review of existing research and convenings conducted with researchers, program managers, and federal staff, this brief address remaining research gaps and how the available evidence should inform future planning for evaluation activities.

Posted to Web: March 03, 2015Publication Date: March 03, 2015

The CUNY Fatherhood Academy: A Qualitative Evaluation (Research Report)
Marla McDaniel, Margaret Simms, William Monson, Erwin de Leon

Knowing the economic challenges young fathers without postsecondary education face in providing for their families, New York City's Young Men's Initiative launched a fatherhood program housed in LaGuardia Community College in spring 2012. The CUNY Fatherhood Academy (CFA) aims to connect young fathers to academic and employment opportunities while supporting them through parenting classes and workshops. This report summarizes Urban Institute's qualitative evaluation of the program. The evaluation, completed under contract with the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity, focuses on CFA's design, implementation, and participant outcomes in the four cohorts served between March 2012 and December 2013.

Posted to Web: February 17, 2015Publication Date: February 17, 2015

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