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The True Cost of Misleading Headline Inflation Statistics
The True Cost of Misleading Headline Inflation Statistics
We need to create an economic environment where companies can hire these workers as employees and pay them a living wage. There are steps policymakers can take to change the gig economy dynamic.
Dependency on tips over base pay is growing because of actions taken by gig companies to institute tipping.
Even for those lucky enough to be making what amounts in many states to the poverty wage of $15 per hour, many will get nothing but a week’s notice before being out on the street.
One study shows that consistent involvement in extracurricular activities increased a child’s likelihood of attending college by a whopping 400% compared to not being involved at all.
Studies have found that both men and women are paid less if they work in “nurturant” occupations.
Since 2015, the correlation between LISEP’s functional employment to population ratio and the inflation rate was more than four times as strong as the BLS’s employment to population ratio, which is depicted in the graph below.
The employment to population ratio settles the discrepancy between what we see around us and what the data says.
The NBER paper defines employment using the traditional BLS U-3 rate. However, the often-used U-3 number fails to capture the quality of jobs.
Among states with stricter COVID-19 policies, reducing unemployment benefits had little to no effect. The average effect of increased employment seems to have occurred only in those states with looser COVID protocols.
Notes
Gene Ludwig

Gene Ludwig, LISEP’s chair, is an internationally recognized leader on matters relating to banking, including financial technology, regulation, risk management, and fiscal policy. He is a managing partner of Canapi Ventures, which is focused on investments in early to growth-stage fintech companies. He is the founder and CEO of Ludwig Advisors, which provides counsel to leading financial institutions on critical issues. Gene is founder and former CEO and chairman of Promontory Financial Group, where he was an IBM executive after the firm was acquired. He was the founder and CEO of Promontory Interfinancial Network (now IntraFi), a technology leader in deposit services he sold to Blackstone.

In 2019, Gene founded the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity (LISEP), which is dedicated to improving the economic well-being of middle- and lower-income Americans. Its research includes the creation of more meaningful economic indicators for unemployment, earnings, and cost of living. LISEP’s statistics aim to provide policymakers and the public with a more realistic view into the economic situation of all Americans as compared with traditionally relied-upon metrics. Gene is the author of The Vanishing American Dream: A Frank Look at the Economic Realities Facing Middle- and Lower-Income Americans.

As U.S. Comptroller of the Currency from 1993 to 1998, Gene served as the Clinton administration’s point person on the policy response to the credit crunch of the early 1990s. He fashioned an 11-point plan that was instrumental in helping banks begin to lend again and fulfill their role of supporting the economy. Under his purview, lending to low- and moderate-income Americans increased tenfold, as did national bank investments in community development corporations. He brought 27 fair-lending cases, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in fines against violators. Before he was Comptroller, he was a partner at Covington & Burling. Gene graduated magna cum laude from Haverford College; he earned an M.A. from Oxford University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Gene spearheaded the Carol and Gene Ludwig Program in Public Sector Leadership at Yale Law School, which is focused on educational and professional support to Yale Law students who aspire to leadership roles in the public sector. The Ludwig Program helps prepare students for careers in areas such as government, nonprofits, and other institutions focused on serving the public.

Philip Cornell

Philip leads economic research for LISEP. He generates statistics that more meaningfully represent the economy, including on unemployment and earnings. He also works to apply these indices to research and to help formulate financial solutions for low- and moderate-income Americans.

As an undergraduate at Princeton University, he wrote a senior thesis about the links between financial regulation, corruption, and entrepreneurship. He graduated summa cum laude in economics with a minor in political economy and finance.

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