EP 648 Tight Labor Market Benefits The Poor


  Labor is having a moment in America.  With unemployment at its lowest rate in 50 years, even workers at the low end of the pay scale, in industries like fast food, retail and hospitality, are finding jobs that pay $15 an hour or better and come with benefits, such as medical insurance, tuition assistance and retirement plans.  Labor is in short supply as baby boomers age out, immigration policy is restrictive and fewer jobs require a college degree.  It’s a perfect storm for those looking for work in the service sector, in particular.  But, will it last?  In their new book, “Moving the Needle: What Tight Labor Markets Do for the Poor” Katherine Newman and our guest, Elisabeth Jacobs, explore this topic fully and introduce us to those whose lives are being turned around to the benefit of all.  We touch upon government policies that may be required to sustain this good news story when the business cycle reverts back to a higher rate of unemployment, as it no doubt will at some point.