Jobs & Joblessness

Jobs, Joblessness, and the New American Poverty

Should those of us who obsessively follow poverty statistics take heart from the positive labor market reports of late? In early July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that unemployment declined to 6.1 percent, the lowest level since the collapse of Lehman Brothers some six years ago. We are also seeing a moderate drop-off in long-term unemployment and a moderate increase in the employment-population ratio. But what does this mean for poverty? Is a corresponding turnaround in poverty right around the corner?

Not necessarily. As Marianne Page points out in this issue, the jobs-poverty relationship has been weakening in recent decades, with the implication that the current expansion may not have the full poverty-reducing effect that we would like. Although economic expansions do still reduce poverty, they just don’t reduce it as much as they once did. 

Table of Contents (Summer 2014)


Do Millionaires Migrate When Tax Rates Are Raised?
The millionaire tax is all the rage. But New Jersey Governor Chris Christie warns us, "Ladies and gentlemen, if you tax them, they will leave." Is he right?


Are Jobs the Solution to Poverty?
The long-standing relationship between jobs and poverty has weakened of late. Why has this happened? And what does it mean for the poverty policy of the future?
Does Immigration Hurt the Poor?
When jobs are scarce, it's tempting to "put a fence" around them by restricting immigration, thereby ensuring that the available jobs at least go to the native poor. But are the poor really helped by restrictive immigration policy? The latest evidence is presented here.
Labor Market Shocks: Are There Lessons for Antipoverty Policy?
The old mantra was that poverty is about "way more than money." The great virtue of recessions, for all the pain they cause, is that they at least allow us to test that claim. The new mantra coming out of this research: Money matters.
A Revolution in Poverty Policy: The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Well-Being of American Families
What is the cornerstone policy in the country’s “second war” on poverty? Find out here.

Research in Brief

Research in Brief
The effects of the carework revolution on job polarization; new results on the mobility of the super-rich; and the best research to date on the Hispanic Health Paradox


The Rise of Extreme Poverty in the United States
There just isn't any $2 dollar-per-day poverty in the United States. Right? The research presented here shows why that common claim is dead wrong.