After an upswing at the beginning of this year, the labor market is back in the doldrums. The latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the U.S. economy created just 114,000 jobs in September, and although the unemployment rate fell to 7.9 percent, the workforce remains shrunken. And even those gloomy numbers obscure the suffering of the long-term unemployed and the millions of workers who have dropped out of the labor force in the aftermath of the recession. Stay up-to-date on the state of the labor market with AEI’s economic experts, and find out their ideas for how to get America back to work.
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The Seattle City Council is very pleased with itself. Answering President Obama’s call to address what he has decided is “the defining issue of our time” – income inequality – the Council voted unanimously last week to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.
We are a long way from the Luddite riots of 19th century England, when protesters smashed the trappings of progress. But worries about the rise of the machines are still with us, and for good reason. Will the machines take our good-paying jobs?
Though the Great Recession ended in 2009, you’d never know it from the millions of Americans suffering from long-term unemployment. Michael R. Strain reminds us of the tragic consequences of long-term unemployment, and the alarming decline in male labor force participation that seems to have accelerated in recent years.
It is not at all hard to understand the fundamental economic logic of the minimum wage: By raising the minimum price of labor, you will decrease the amount of labor that employers want to purchase.