Jared Bernstein

Jared Bernstein is an economist and senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He was formerly chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden and a member of President Barack Obama’s economics team.

 

Recent Articles

Unemployment, Low. Wage Growth, Meh.

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File A recruiter in the shale gas industry speaks with an attendee of a job fair in Cheswick, Pennsylvania T he unemployment rate has been stuck at a low level of 4.1 percent for the last six months. The papers are replete with stories of labor shortages , of companies fighting over high-school students and hiring folks right out of prison . While pockets of labor-market weakness always exist somewhere, there’s little question that in broad terms, the U.S. job market is closing in on full employment. And yet, wage growth has been underwhelming. I’ll lay out the facts of that case in a moment—but how can that be? Don’t tight labor markets boost workers’ bargaining clout? Don’t employers have to bid up paychecks to keep their workers from just going around the corner to better jobs? Isn’t one of the key benefits of full employment that—as is not the case when labor markets are slack—employers must compete for workers? What’s blocking that crucial economic...

Republicans Have Exposed Themselves

Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images The Speaker of the United States House Paul Ryan speaks at the Capitol as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell looks on at right trickle-downers.jpg T he Republicans’ disdain for America has been laid bare by their tax plan. Progressives must take advantage of this moment. As you surely know, the versions of the bill passed by the House and Senate are beyond terrible, and they just gets worse with each cover-of-night iteration. Simply put, they accomplish four goals, which I outline below. The evidence behind these assertions is overwhelming and has been made repeatedly, so rather than repeat it, I’ll provide links to the facts. But if facts were actually in play, we wouldn’t still be arguing about the offsetting growth effects of trickle-down economics, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wouldn’t be blithely asserting that the growth effects will more than pay for the revenues lost by this plan...

It’s Not a Skills Gap That’s Holding Wages Down: It's the Weak Economy, Among Other Things

Workers’ ability to handle technological advances doesn’t explain what’s happened to American wages.

(Photo by: Hendrik Schmidt/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)
(Photo by: Hendrik Schmidt/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images) A robotic welding system for Volkswagon car body shells is featured at the Industrial Museum in Chemnitz, Germany. T he inadequate quantity and quality of American jobs is one of the most fundamental economic challenges we face. It’s not the only challenge: Poverty, inequality, and stagnant mobility loom large, as well. But in a nation like ours, where wages and salaries are key to the living standards of working-age households, all these challenges flow from the labor market problem. OK, but this is a supposed to be an article about technology. What’s the linkage between technology and this fundamental problem? As a D.C.-based economist who’s been working on the issue of jobs and earnings for almost 25 years, trust me when I tell you that most policy makers believe the following: “Yes, there’s a problem of job quantity and quality, but it’s largely a skills problem. Because of recent technological advances, most notably...

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