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.
This report presents baseline and process study findings of an evaluation of the Urban Alliance high school internship program, which provides training, mentoring, and work experience to high school seniors from distressed communities in Washington, DC, Baltimore, Northern Virginia, and Chicago. The report, which focuses on the program's operations in DC and Baltimore in the 2011–12 and 2012–13 program years, explains the internship program model and its various components; describes the characteristics of youth participants; and presents findings from dozens of interviews and focus groups with program staff, youth, job mentors, and other stakeholders.
Pennsylvania’s pension plan for state employees receives a failing grade in the Urban Institute’s state and local pension plan report card, and ranks as the third-worst plan in the nation covering newly hired general state employees. The plan scores poorly because it is inadequately funded, it penalizes work at older ages by reducing lifetime benefits for older employees, and it provides few retirement benefits to short-term employees. Age-25 hires must work 32 years before they accumulate rights to future pension benefits worth more than their required plan contributions. Various pension reforms could distribute benefits more equitably across the workforce.
This brief examines whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has increased part-time work using recent Current Population Survey data. We find a small increase in part-time work in 2014 beyond what would be expected at this point in the economic recovery, attributable to an increase in involuntary part-time work. The increase is not specific to part-time work as defined by the ACA (less than 30 hours per week). Moreover, job transition patterns suggest that the increase in part-time work in 2014 is more likely due to a slow recovery of full-time jobs following the Great Recession than the ACA.
The minimum wage establishes a lower bound on what employers must pay their workers. The federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 an hour, but 22 states and the District of Columbia (DC) have established minimum wages above the federal minimum. Today, DC’s minimum wage is set one dollar higher than the federal minimum ($8.25), while the minimum wage in the neighboring jurisdictions of Maryland and Virginia use the federal minimum wage. However, DC and two neighboring counties in Maryland (Prince George’s County and Montgomery County) have passed legislation raising their minimum wages to $11.50 an hour by 2016 and 2017, respectively. This report examines the potential effects of raising DC’s minimum wage on DC workers, their families, and on the government programs that serve them.
Over the next two years, the minimum wage in DC will increase in stages, ultimately reaching $11.50 in July 2016, and thereafter DC’s minimum wage will increase with inflation. Based on historical patterns for the DC metro area and an analysis of workers in the food service industry nationwide, we find little evidence that even a substantial increase in minimum wages in DC would result in lower employment. Our estimates of the relationship are imprecise, however, and we cannot rule out modest negative impacts.