True Rate of Unemployment
True Rate of Unemployment Out of the Population
Cost of Living
Low-Wage Workers Appear to be Leaving Workforce, According to Ludwig Institute
While a drop in the percentage of Americans in the workforce classified as “functionally unemployed” appears to be a good indication of a recovering economy, issues with the workforce participation rate may indicate that low-wage earners are joining the ranks of discouraged workers, according to an analysis by LISEP.
May 18, 2022
Markets Gloom Looms Large Over Milken
Gene Ludwig, founder of consulting firm Promontory Financial, went even further, saying, “most leaders in America don’t understand how bad things are for the poor and middle class .... If we don’t make changes we are headed for civil unrest.”
May 9, 2022
Minority-owned Banks Need More Help and Fewer Setbacks from Washington
Each time the economy falters, a disproportionate number of Minority Depository Institutions find themselves in trouble through no fault of their own.
April 29, 2022
The Economy is Great. The Middle Class is Mad
Eugene Ludwig, the former comptroller of the currency in the Clinton Administration, says the CPI distorts the real economic picture for lower- and middle-income Americans because it counts the costs of discretionary items such as yachts, second homes, and hotel rooms. By his calculations, the cost of household minimal needs rose 64% from 2001 to 2020, 1.4 times inflation.
April 28, 2022
When Black-owned Businesses Fail, It Hurts Everybody
When Black businesses fail, are unable to get off the ground, or underperform, it doesn’t just add to the racial wealth gap — it costs all Americans money.
The Boston Globe
April 24, 2022
Wages Fail to Keep up with Inflation, Functional Unemployment Grows, says Ludwig Institute
Inflation-adjusted earnings for the first quarter of 2022 show that American workers are losing ground, forcing a larger percentage of the workforce out of living-wage job status for the month of March and into the ranks of the “functionally unemployed,” according to an analysis by LISEP.
April 15, 2022
Growth of Living-Wage Jobs Stalls in February, Says Ludwig Institute
After nearly a year of improvement in the ability of Americans to find full-time, living-wage jobs, the percentage of workers classified as “functionally unemployed” inched upwards in February, according to LISEP.
March 15, 2022
Ludwig Institute: Rising Prices Hitting Middle, Lower-Income Families Hardest
The concern about today’s inflation misses the point, according to a new analysis by LISEP, which indicates that over the last 20 years, rising consumer prices have hit middle- and lower-income households much harder than the Consumer Price Index suggests.
March 9, 2022
Axios: The Affordability Crisis
LISEP Chair Gene Ludwig spoke about the True Cost of Living (TLC) at a virtual Axios event on The Affordability Crisis on March 9. Esteemed speakers included Heather Boushey of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and UC Berkeley public policy professor Robert Reich.
March 9, 2022
Watch the Video
New Economic Justice Loans Set New Standard for Minority Business Lending
Former U.S. Comptroller of the Currency and current LISEP Chair Gene Ludwig and NACA CEO Bruce Marks announced a groundbreaking lending program for minority-owned businesses. Economic Justice Loans will be a model for financial institutions, financial regulators, and the government to address economic inequality created by a long-term inability to access capital with favorable terms. This program will offer fixed, low-interest loans to people lacking wealth and high credit scores, and who have been subject to systematic racism.
March 2, 2022
More Americans in Living-Wage Jobs for January; ‘Discouraged’ Workers Coming Back
More American workers are in living-wage jobs than any time since 2019, with even those previously labeled as “discouraged workers” returning to the labor force, according to an analysis by LISEP. But meanwhile, a huge gap remains between the ability of men and women to secure and retain employment paying above the poverty line.
February 16, 2022
Big Yearly Gains in Living-Wage Jobs, Wages, According to Ludwig Institute
The percentage of Americans defined as “functionally unemployed” took the biggest drop year-over-year in more than 25 years, according to the December 2021 True Rate of Unemployment, released today by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity. And while worker earnings also posted significant gains over the past year, growth stagnated in the latter part of 2021 due to inflationary pressures, LISEP found.
January 20, 2022
Why Are Minority-Owned Banks Disappearing? Washington Holds the Smoking Gun
For decades, regulators have embraced a set of policies that, when recessions arise, force the closure of struggling lenders that serve poorer and marginalized communities. In practice, this has the effect of allowing investors to purchase the closed lenders’ assets (loans and properties) while they’re devalued. This vicious cycle has steadily worsened inequality because those assets — now owned by outsiders — skyrocket in value when the market recovers. Federal policy and practice, in other words, ensures that the rich get richer and poor get poorer during each turn of the economic cycle.
January 19, 2022
Following 346 Homicides in Memphis in 2021, Officials Consider What’s Driving the Violence
During the course of the pandemic, Memphis lost a substantial number of jobs that pay a living wage, according to at least one Washington D.C.-based think tank that focuses on economic development for the lower and middle classes. The Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity defines “functional unemployment” as being employed but not at a livable wage, or working part time at a job due to unavailability of full-time jobs with benefits.
Memphis Commercial Appeal
January 3, 2022
What Supply-Chain Woes Mean When You Live Next to a Port
Forget shipping delays. A deluge of truck traffic and abandoned containers at the Port of Los Angeles creates daily hazards for residents in the neighboring community of Wilmington.
December 20, 2021
Researchers Worry that Low-income Californians May Have Trouble Repaying Unemployment Benefits
Even before the pandemic, nearly one in three Californian households struggled to pay for basic necessities, according to the United Ways of California. During the pandemic, a report from the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity found that 4.8 million Californians were seeking, but unable to find, full-time work that paid a living wage.
December 20, 2021
What’s Working: Colorado Springs Is the Only Metro Area that Has Recovered All Jobs Lost in the Pandemic
Statewide, 85.7% of the jobs lost during COVID are back. Plus: Wages are up, unemployment rate falls again and another look at the true unemployed.
The Colorado Sun
December 18, 2021
Living-Wage Job Growth Stalls for November, Ludwig Institute Reports
Living-wage job growth has seemingly stalled from October to November, but remains improved over a year ago, according to the monthly True Rate of Unemployment data released by LISEP.
December 16, 2021
The Problem with Our Employment Stats
Despite all the buzz about the “Great Resignation,” labor shortages, and 10 million unfilled job openings, this is the underlying reality: Many tens of millions of Americans are jobless for lack of job opportunity.
December 11, 2021
Memphis Ranks High On Loss of Living-Wage Jobs
Memphis lost more living-wage jobs during the pandemic than most metros around the country, according to a new analysis from a think tank focused on economic equity for the middle and lower class.
December 1, 2021
Nation’s Largest Metro Areas Lose Living-Wage Jobs in First Year of Pandemic
Eighty-four of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas posted negative growth in living-wage jobs — five by double digits — during the first year of the pandemic, according to an analysis by LISEP.
November 30, 2021
The Twin Cities’ “True” Unemployment Rate
While the Twin Cities metro’s unemployment rate is technically a low 2.6%, the “true” number of people who are unemployed — by one analysis — is much higher than that.
Axios Twin Cities
November 30, 2021
Report Pegs Philly’s “True” Unemployment Rate
Denver Metro’s “True” Unemployment Is Much Higher by One Estimate
D.C.’s Real Unemployment Rate Is Higher Than You’d Think
Exclusive Analysis: Tampa Bay’s True Unemployment Rate
The Des Moines Metro‘s “True” Unemployment Rate
LISEP Analysis Shows Living-Wage Job Growth for Black Workers for 4th Month
For the fourth consecutive month a higher percentage of Black workers are finding living-wage jobs, according to the October True Rate of Unemployment (TRU) report from LISEP. That’s the modest good news.
November 16, 2021
California’s High Unemployment Rate May Be Too Low
While a 7.5% unemployment rate is dismal, it may also understate the true nature of the job situation in California.
November 14, 2021
Beowulf Rochlen Speaks with Gene Ludwig on Why the Unemployment Rate Doesn’t Make Sense
November 13, 2021
New Study Finds Millions of Workers Are ‘Functionally Unemployed’
California’s official unemployment rate is 7.5%. But a newer method of measuring unemployment reveals a far larger portion of the state is struggling to find full-time employment that pays enough to cover the cost of living.
November 4, 2021
Wages, Employment Prospects Improving for Black Workers, According to LISEP
More Black workers moved out of the ranks of the “functionally unemployed” and into living-wage jobs for the month of September, with significant wage gains across the board for the third quarter of 2021, according to an analysis by LISEP, resulting in a narrowing of both the earnings and employment gap.
October 19, 2021
What the US Unemployment Rate Doesn’t Tell You
For some, September’s headline figure is woefully misleading, as it is every month. What if the “true” unemployment rate is actually closer to 22%?
October 10, 2021
America’s Hidden Hedge Against Inflation
There is an enormous (but invisible) supply of labor that companies can hire to keep costs down.
October 7, 2021
Measured by Creation of Good Jobs, Today’s Recovery Stands Alone
Economic recoveries should be judged not simply by how many jobs come online, but by whether the jobs created pay a reliably middle-class wage.
September 25, 2021
America Fought the Pandemic Economy — and Won
The U.S. economy is emerging from the pandemic with more well-paying jobs for those who want them, less hunger, less poverty, higher wages, less inequality, and more wealth for everyday Americans.
September 17, 2021
‘Functional Unemployment’ Drops to Lowest Rate in Nearly Two Years
A higher demand for low- and middle-income workers and robust competition for those employees led to a higher percentage of American workers in full-time, living-wage jobs last month than any time since December 2019, according to an analysis by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity.
September 15, 2021
Functional Employment Increases for July as Wage Growth Stalls
A higher percentage of Americans joined the ranks of the functionally unemployed for the month of July in spite of modest wage gains in the second quarter of 2021 by low- and middle-income workers, according to data released by the Ludwig Institute of Shared Economic Prosperity.
August 19, 2021
Will States Lead the Way on Expanding CRA to Nonbanks?
After decades of calls to expand the Community Reinvestment Act’s anti-redlining obligations to nonbanks, the idea is going mainstream thanks to key endorsements from states and even the chairman of the Federal Reserve.
July 26, 2021
Functional Unemployment Drops While Overall Earnings Decline, According to LISEP
More Americans moved out of the ranks of the “functionally unemployed” and into living-wage jobs for the month of June, according to an analysis by LISEP, with the bottom 25% of earners posting significant gains in real wages. But unfortunately for the middle class, real median earnings as a whole fell, with earners at the 75th percentile losing more than 2.0%.
July 16, 2021
Living-Wage Employment Continues to Exceed Pre-Pandemic Levels
More Americans are finding living-wage jobs than prior to the pandemic, signaling an ongoing economic recovery, according to an analysis by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity. Yet the percentage of “functionally unemployed” individuals remains alarmingly high and indicates the need for ongoing policy efforts if the recovery is to continue, said LISEP’s chair.
June 17, 2021
U.S. Workers Worse Off Than They Appear: Gene Ludwig
“If we walk around America and walk around Washington D.C., we see some things that are quite disturbing,” says former Comptroller of the Currency Gene Ludwig, who now runs the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity. “You see huge homeless communities in many cities and towns in America, you see dilapidation in areas that used to be lovely. And you begin to say, well, if we have the low unemployment rates that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has put out, why do we have the situation that we see?”
June 8, 2021
More Americans in Living Wage Jobs for Third Straight Month, Says Ludwig Institute
More American workers continue to move into living-wage jobs, with the percentage of Americans classified as “functionally unemployed” dropping to the lowest level since December 2019, according to the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity.
May 20, 2021
Wages Hit Record Highs — for White Americans
The gap between White Americans’ wages and everybody else's grew even larger in the first quarter of this year, according to new data from LISEP, the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity.
April 29, 2021
Wages Rebound, but Not for Black Workers, According to Ludwig Institute Analysis
While wages for many Americans have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, earnings for Black workers declined in the first quarter of 2021, with the wage gap between Black and White workers growing to its highest level since before the pandemic, according to an analysis of earnings data by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity.
April 28, 2021
Black Workers Lose Ground on Living-Wage Jobs in March, According to LISEP
The percentage of Black Americans unable to find a living-wage job climbed to its highest level in six months, even while other segments of the population enjoyed marginal improvement, according to an analysis released today by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity.
April 22, 2021
Reforms That Can Help Revive the American Dream
A new cadre of financial regulators can transform the financial world’s role in the fight against prejudice and inequality.
April 21, 2021
When It Comes to Biden’s Jobs Bill, Bigger Is Better
Policymakers shouldn’t be fooled by a bullish stock market or what appears to be plummeting unemployment rates. Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas.
April 19, 2021
New Analysis Reveals 20 Years of Stagnant Wage Growth for American Workers
American workers have seen their real earnings grow by less than 10% over the last two decades, with a growing racial gap where gains by Black workers are half that of their White counterparts, according to new earnings data released by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity.
March 25, 2021
U.S. Workers Get 19% Less Than Federal Estimates, Wage Data Show
American workers are making less than official estimates show, according to new analysis. U.S. workers earn a median weekly wage of $797, or $41,456 a year, according to the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity, which analyzed data up until 2020. That’s 19% below official estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a widely-used measure of pay.
March 25, 2021
Stories of Pandemic Unemployment: ‘It … Eats Away at You’
Low wages, risky jobs put LGBTQ+ people, BIPOC and women in the line of fire
March 18, 2021
Growth of Living-Wage Jobs Declines in February, LISEP Analysis Reveals
A new analysis of unemployment data further underscores the need for the strong relief measures included in the recently approved $1.9 trillion federal economic stimulus package, according to Gene Ludwig, chairman of the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity.
March 17, 2021
Go Big on COVID Stimulus — We Can’t Afford Not To
The country needs this amount of relief — or more.
March 3, 2021
Why Stimulus Is Needed to Aid Economic Recovery, Help with Joblessness
Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity Chair Gene Ludwig joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel to discuss the impact of unemployment amid the coronavirus pandemic.
February 25, 2021
Expand CRA to Include Nonbanks
As the world of finance has changed, the Community Reinvestment Act’s reach has failed to keep pace. Of most concern, large portions of the lending marketplace have been claimed by nonbank lenders that are not subject to the CRA’s regulations. Today, that disparity threatens to undermine the spirit of equality the CRA intended nearly a half-century ago.
February 22, 2021
Analysis Reveals Risk of Stalled Economic Recovery Among Black Workers
While American workers as a whole, particularly women, saw incremental growth in living-wage job opportunities in January, Black workers lost ground, according to an analysis by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity.
February 18, 2021
True Rate of Unemployment: One-fourth of American Workers Remain ‘Functionally Unemployed’ as Racial and Gender Gaps Widen
More than one-fourth of American workers remain without a job that lifts them above the poverty level, presenting a major challenge for the new Congress and the Biden Administration, according to the latest analysis of the country’s unemployment rate released today by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity. At the same time, racial and gender gaps have widened, exacerbating economic inequity.
January 27, 2021
Unemployment Is Much Worse Than You Think — Here’s Why
These days the headline unemployment rate isn’t just an undercount, it actually paints an alternate reality that masks the degree to which low- and moderate-income people are hurting. As a result, policymakers believe these Americans are better off than they actually are.
January 25, 2021
U.S. Poverty Jumps the Most in 60 Years
Of the various measures of the coronavirus pandemic’s comet strike on the U.S. economy, one especially reveals the size of the crater: Over a six-month period, nearly 8 million Americans have tumbled into poverty.
December 17, 2020
Women's Unemployment Crisis Revealed
The true unemployment rate for women isn't going down, as official statistics suggest. In fact, it's going up — at least according to the most recent analysis of official data from LISEP, the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity.
December 16, 2020
Fewer Living-Wage Jobs in U.S. Economy for November, Ludwig Institute Analysis Finds
More than a quarter of Americans desiring full-time work found themselves without a living-wage job in November, with women losing substantial ground in the workforce, according to a report released by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity.
December 16, 2020
1 in 4 Americans Are Jobless or Earning Poverty-level Wages, New Study Finds
Official government figures show that unemployment around the U.S. has fallen sharply since peaking at nearly 15% in April as the coronavirus was shuttering businesses left and right. Yet the jobless rate as depicted in headlines offers a skewed picture of employment today, failing to capture the real financial pressure bearing down on millions of Americans, according to a new study.
November 20, 2020
Ability of Americans to Find a Living-Wage Job Remains Stalled Over Past Month, According to Ludwig Institute Analysis
The opportunity for Americans to find a living wage job during the month of October remains stagnant in spite of improving unemployment data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, according to an analysis by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity.
The Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity
November 19, 2020
Trump or Biden’s Big Economic Challenge: Millions of Struggling Americans
The winner of the race for the White House will face a generation of low-to-middle income Americans struggling to get back to work because of a health crisis not seen in more than 100 years.
October 28, 2020
Gene Ludwig’s Plan for Saving the American Dream
Former Comptroller of the Currency Gene Ludwig has written a book, The Vanishing American Dream, about the plight of middle- and low-income Americans.
October 26, 2020
Economic Recovery or a Vanishing American Dream?
Gene Ludwig recently joined The Chicago Council of Global Affairs to discuss The Vanishing American Dream with esteemed participants including Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken, former Chicago alderman Ameya Pawar and Heartland Alliance President Evelyn Diaz.
October 16, 2020
Watch the Video
Exclusive: America’s True Unemployment Rate
A person who is looking for a full-time job that pays a living wage — but who can't find one — is unemployed. If you accept that definition, the true unemployment rate in the U.S. is a stunning 26.1%, according to an important new dataset shared exclusively with "Axios on HBO."
October 13, 2020
Ludwig Institute Launches New Economic Indicator; Shows True Rate of Unemployment More Than Three Times Government Reported Rate
A new economic indicator launched today by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity reveals a True Rate of Unemployment of 26.1 percent for September, compared to the accurate but misleading 7.9 percent reported by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity
October 13, 2020
US Regulators Should Prod Lenders to Help Minority Communities
Present markets will probably prompt lenders to serve wealthier individuals and bigger companies first, exacerbating inequality. Fortunately, regulators have within their grasp several tools to direct lending to the businesses and low-income families — including many minority communities — where it will do the most good.
October 11, 2020
Gene Ludwig to Release New Book Examining the Plight of Lower- and Middle-Income Americans
Gene Ludwig rose to become comptroller of the currency from a humble childhood in the once-thriving industrial city of York, Pa. In a groundbreaking book, The Vanishing American Dream, he brings academics, policymakers, and business leaders together to discuss why cities like York were struggling even before the coronavirus pandemic. During the good times, positive economic indicators — low unemployment rates and rising GDP — shrouded the heart-rending reality that, for much of the population, the American Dream has fallen farther out of reach. During an electric conference bringing experts from left, right, and center together at Yale Law School, luminaries from Larry Summers to Glenn Hubbard asked two fundamental questions: Why are so many lower- and middle-income families worse off than they were a generation earlier? And what can be done to set things straight?
The Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity
September 22, 2020
How the Fed’s Rescue Program Is Worsening Inequality
Americans have been justifiably disturbed by stories of deep-pocketed corporations accepting loans from the Paycheck Protection Program designed to save small businesses and non-profits. But outrage over generous loans to well-heeled businesses is obscuring another troubling problem: The Federal Reserve’s efforts to preserve liquidity in the corporate debt market are, however inadvertently, sending wealth up the income scale, exacerbating inequality.
May 28, 2020
Rosy Economic Data Belies a Harsh Reality for Many Americans
To read the economic reports coming out of Washington, you might assume that the American economy is firing on all cylinders. But beneath this rosy picture is a much darker reality.
May 15, 2019
Strong GDP and Jobs Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story about America's Economic Reality
GDP and unemployment numbers support the notion that times are good. They say our economic policy is sound, and the status quo is working. But a different picture emerges looking at the homeless people gathered by the Federal Reserve building in DC, or in visiting my hometown, York, Pennsylvania, where wages have stagnated and factories have closed. In reality, most Americans actually are poorer now than they were before.
July 16, 2018
By the Numbers
LISEP’s monthly summary of the True Rate of Unemployment.
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