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Moving the Needle: What Tight Labor Markets Do for the Poor

Moving the Needle: What Tight Labor Markets Do for the Poor

Current price: $29.95
Publication Date: March 28th, 2023
University of California Press
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This timely investigation reveals how sustained tight labor markets improve the job prospects and life chances of America’s most vulnerable households

Most research on poverty focuses on the damage caused by persistent unemployment. But what happens when jobs are plentiful and workers are hard to come by? Moving the Needle examines how very low unemployment boosts wages at the bottom, improves benefits, lengthens job ladders, and pulls the unemployed into a booming job market.
Drawing on over seventy years of quantitative data, as well as interviews with employers, jobseekers, and longtime residents of poor neighborhoods, Katherine S. Newman and Elisabeth S. Jacobs investigate the most durable positive consequences of tight labor markets. They also consider the downside of overheated economies that can ignite surging rents and spur outmigration. Moving the Needle is an urgent and original call to implement policies that will maintain the current momentum and prepare for potential slowdowns that may lie ahead

About the Author

Katherine S. Newman is Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of California. She is author of fourteen books on topics including the working poor, social mobility, apprenticeship, the impact of regressive taxation, and downward mobility. 
Elisabeth S. Jacobs is Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute and cofounder of WorkRise, a research-to-action network on jobs, workers, and mobility, for which she serves as deputy director. She has worked at the intersection of cutting-edge social science and public policy for nearly two decades.

Praise for Moving the Needle: What Tight Labor Markets Do for the Poor

"Astute and timely . . . . This is a valuable resource for activists, scholars, and policymakers on the front lines of the battle to end poverty."
— Publishers Weekly

 "Overall, then, Moving the Needle provides a compelling account of the dynamics of tight labor markets with broad relevance to scholars of work and poverty, very broadly defined, and it serves as a useful model for a wide range of social science research."
— Social Forces