Modest real wage growth, rising wage inequality, and decreasing labor force participation among less-educated workers have been important labor market trends for several decades. These trends have been amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic, with potentially ruinous consequences for American workers and families. Economists Erica Groshen (Cornell University) and Harry Holzer (Georgetown University), and a roster of labor market experts present new evidence on the prevalence, causes, and future of these challenges in a recent RSF journal issue, Improving Employment and Earnings in Twenty-First Century Labor Markets. Groshen and Holzer, the journal issue’s co-editors, have been frequently cited in the media since the issue was published in December 2019, particularly in news coverage about the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Groshen and Holzer have co-authored op-eds for Newsweek about how to improve inequality in America and for Morning Consult about how Democrats should approach conversations about the economy during this election year. RSF grantee and author Harry Holzer has written for The Hill and been cited in the Los Angeles Times about the costs of reopening the economy too soon. Erica Groshen contributed to a MarketWatch article on the recent spike in jobless claims and Reuters coverage of workers risking their health to ship luxury goods. Her research was most recently cited in a Wall Street Journal piece outlining the actual extent of job losses due to the COVID-19 crisis and a Los Angeles Times article about the effects of curfews on night shift workers. Both scholars were cited in a Guardian article about how the lack of paid sick leave makes Americans particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and a Vox piece about the flawed American unemployment insurance system.
Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations cited Groshen’s research in blog posts about the importance of distinguishing furloughs from other kinds of job losses and adding nuance to our interpretations of the recent surge in unemployment claims. The Brookings Institution featured Holzer’s co-authored blog post about the potential economic impact of educational losses during this pandemic.
Groshen is a Senior Extension Faculty member at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and Research Fellow at the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. From 2013 to 2017, she served as the 14th Commissioner of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the principal federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and inflation. Previously, she was Vice President in the Research and Statistics Group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Her research has centered on jobless recoveries, wage rigidity and dispersion, and the role of employers in the labor market.
Holzer is the John LaFarge, Jr. SJ Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings, and an Institute Fellow at the American Institute for Research in Washington DC. He is a former Chief Economist for the U.S. Department of Labor and a former Professor of Economics at Michigan State University. Holzer is an expert on the low-wage labor market, and has studied the problems of minority workers in urban areas. Holzer’s RSF books include Where All the Good Jobs Going, co-authored with Julia I. Lane, David B. Rosenblum, and Fredrik Andersson, Moving Up or Moving On: Who Advances in the Low Wage Labor Market?, with Fredrik Andersson and Julia Lane, and What Employers Want: Job Prospects for Less-Educated Workers.