More Americans in Living Wage Jobs for January; Discouraged workers return

“While the news is generally good for low- and middle-income families, the extreme employment gap between men and women is concerning,” Ludwig said. “The pandemic has obviously had a disproportionate impact on women in the workforce, with policymakers and employers slow to respond.”

LISEP’s real unemployment rate (TRU) is a measure of the functionally unemployed – the unemployed, plus those who seek but cannot obtain full-time employment paid above the poverty line. Additionally, LISEP measures the TRU Out of the Population (TRU OOP), the percentage of the total US population (aged 16 and older) who is seeking but unable to find full-time paying employment above of the poverty line. While the TRU measures the percentage of functionally unemployed for the entire active workforce, the TRU OOP assesses the entire potential workforce, including discouraged workers and those who have dropped out. labor pool.

For January, LISEP found that the TRU OOP is now at its lowest level since October 2019which means that workers not only return to the labor market, but find gainful employment.

In January, all major demographics posted TRU increases in living wage job growth, with a composite rate of 22.5%, down 0.8 percentage points from the December rate. This contrasts with the government rate released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which reported an unemployment rate of 4%, up 0.1 percentage points from January. But the gender gap persists, with the male URR dropping 0.6 percentage points and now standing at 17.7%, while the female URR, albeit down 0.8 percentage points , remains more than 10 percentage points higher than their male counterparts at 28%.

From January to February, all major demographics saw a decrease in the number of workers classified as functionally unemployed, as measured by LISEP’s TRU. The URR for black workers fell from 27.3% to 25.8% (1.5 percentage points); Hispanic workers fell from 27.7% to 25.4% (2.3 percentage points); while white workers’ URR remained essentially flat, decreasing by 0.1 percentage points, from 21.6% to 21.5%.

“Even after adjusting for inflation, low- and middle-income workers continue to make gains, which will be essential to a full economic recovery,” the LISEP president said. Gene Ludwig. “And the fact that previously discouraged workers are coming back – and returning to gainful employment – ​​is an encouraging sign. While we seem to be moving in the right direction, too many Americans are still living on the edge.”

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 the new statistical measure was announced in October. 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 the CEO of Promontory MortgagePath, a technology-based mortgage management and solutions company. 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