LISEP produces original economic research to provide a more accurate picture of the well-being of middle- and lower-income families. Our research includes new economic indicators for both unemployment and earnings (more detail below). Our statistics aim to provide policymakers and the public a more transparent view into the economic situation of all Americans as compared with the traditionally relied upon metrics. In addition to unemployment and earnings, we are working on additional economic indicators that will be shared in the coming months.
LISEP also seeks to guide and support policy initiatives that increase opportunities for struggling Americans, including how we can create a business environment that supports good-paying jobs.
LISEP issued the white paper Measuring Better: Development of “True Rate of Unemployment” Data as the Basis for Social and Economic Policy' upon announcing the new statistical measure in October 2020. The paper and methodology can be viewed here. LISEP issues TRU one to two weeks following 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 lisep.org/tru.
In announcing the debut of the True Living Cost (TLC) metric, LISEP issued the white paper Determining More Accurate Living Cost for Median- and Lower-Income American Families (abridged version here). TLC assesses a set of minimal adequate needs that a household requires to function: housing, medical care, transportation, food, childcare, technology, and miscellaneous (e.g., clothing, personal care, and household items) that takes into account household size (the eight household sizes range from one to two adults and zero to three children) and the relevant census region (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West). The TLC tracks change in price for minimal adequate needs over time.
As a comparison to the TLC, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures rising prices of a whole host of goods and services, many of which are not relevant for middle- and low-income Americans. The CPI remains a useful inflation metric rather than a cost-of-living metric due to the inclusion of items not relevant to one group or the other and by only including the urban population, among other issues.
In announcing the new Minimal Quality of Life (MQL) Index, LISEP issued the white paper “The First Rung Up on the Ladder: An Analysis of the Cost of Basic Recreational Activities for American Families.” The methodology can be viewed here. The MQL determines the basic cost of a minimal “basket” of family recreation items and tracks them over time. The MQL and supporting data are available on the LISEP website at lisep.org/mql.
LISEP issues the TWE quarterly following the release of the BLS Median Weekly Earnings report. The full white paper, Understanding the Status of American Workers Through Analysis of Current Population Data, can be viewed here. The TWE rate and supporting data are available on the LISEP website at lisep.org/earnings.