Employment and Labor Markets
Today, in the aftermath of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, there are 8.7 million unemployed—5.6 percent of the labor force. Involuntary part-time workers— those employed less than full-time for economic reasons—number approximately 7 million. And there are roughly 10 million full-time workers whose wages place them at or below the official poverty line. Clearly, there is room for improvement on the jobs front.
In response to this problem, Levy Institute scholars have proposed a full employment, or job opportunity, program that would employ all who are willing to work and increase flexibility between economic sectors, thereby lowering the social and economic costs of unemployment. In the postwar period, “Keynesian” policies to promote full employment have relied on a favorable business environment to stimulate investment spending, and they have been largely ineffective: unemployment rates have trended upward, real wages for most workers have declined, and poverty rates have remained stubbornly high.