Living wage job growth stagnates for November, Ludwig Institute reports

LISEP’s TRU, a measure of the “functionally unemployed” – defined as those seeking, but unable to find, paid full-time employment above the poverty line – increased by 0.1 percentage point from from 23.5% in October to 23.6% in November. In contrast, the official unemployment report released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed a marginal decline, from 4.6% to 4.2%.

While a slowdown in living wage job growth is concerning, it can certainly be expected with the start of the winter months and a new COVID variant complicating matters, says LISEP President Gene Ludwigwhich also notes the improvement in the TRU just a year ago, when 25.7% were defined as functionally unemployed, a difference of 2.1 percentage points.

“It’s never good for an economy when 23.6% of workers are unable to find full-time, paid employment, but given where we were a year ago, we’re seriously moving in the right direction. direction for the first time in a long time,” Ludwig said. “Good economic policy, focused on creating well-paying jobs, is what we need to move our nation forward, and I hope Congress will have the means to carry it out.”

Most major demographics saw only minor changes in the TRU from October to November, with black workers registering a 0.2 percentage point increase (from 26.7% to 26.9%) and white workers a decrease of 0.6 percentage points (from 22.3% to 21.7%). Male and female workers balanced each other perfectly, with male workers registering a 0.3 percentage point increase in the functional unemployment rate (18.5% to 18.8%), while women registered an improvement of 0, 3 percentage points, from 29.1% to 28.8%.

The notable exception was the Hispanic TRU, which rose from 27.4% to 28.5%, an increase of 1.1 percentage points, erasing gains made earlier in the year. According to LISEP, this could be due to the fact that the workers accepted employment in temporary positions which ended with the arrival of winter.

“Obviously, the sustainability of an economic recovery rests with all segments of the population with the opportunity to participate equally, and that should be a major concern for policymakers,” Ludwig said. “We’ve come a long way in the past year. Now we have to keep the momentum going.”

About TRU
LISEP published the white paper “Measuring Better: Development of ‘True Rate of Unemployment Data as the Basis for Social and Economic Policy” when announcing the new statistical measure in October 2020. The document and the methodology can be consulted here. LISEP issues the TRU one to two weeks after the release of the BLS unemployment report, which occurs on the first Friday of each month. The TRU rate and supporting data are available on the LISEP website at

The Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity (LISEP) was created in 2019 by Ludwig and his wife, Dr. Carole Ludwig. LISEP’s mission is to improve the economic well-being of middle- and low-income Americans through research and education, and seeks to advance the dialogue around policy solutions to improve the well-being of all Americans.

On Gene Ludwig
In addition to his role as President of LISEP, Gene Ludwig is the founder of the Promontory family of companies and Canapi LLC, a fintech venture capital fund. He is CEO of Promontory MortgagePath, a technology-based mortgage management and solutions company, and Chairman of Promontory Financial Group. Ludwig is the former Vice President and Chief Comptroller of Bankers Trust New York Corp., and served as Comptroller of the United States Currency from 1993 to 1998. He is also the author of the book The fading American dream, which studies the economic challenges faced by low- and middle-income Americans. He left in September 2020 by Disruption Books. On Twitter: @geneludwig.

SOURCE Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity

Michael A. Bynum