First, there’s this WaPo piece on an important benefit of full employment: the closure of racial unemployment gaps. The piece links to a new Fed study that’s worth a close look. Nothing OTE’ers wouldn’t know given my emphasis on the disproportionate benefits of tight labor markets to less advantaged groups, but the Fed study provides a nice, deep dive into the issue. It’s important to remember that the survey data on which this work is based excludes the incarcerated, which is an increasingly big omission for minorities, especially blacks, over this period. In a sense, many labor market indicators for blacks are biased up as those with weaker labor force attachment are removed from the sample.
End of the day, though, if you said I could do two and only two things to help black workers, I’d pursue:
–full employment with direct job creation (with a training component)
–criminal justice reform.
If you relaxed the “two” restriction, I’d add the stuff Ben S and I talk about in our latest TAP piece.
Second, I think many OTEers would enjoy this symposium in the journal Democracy, curated and summarized by yours truly. As Dean Baker points out, and I agree, post-real macro is alive and well and doing all sorts of damage to policy, though as Furman and Friedman discuss, there’s room for hope in various corners of the profession. And yes, despite our efforts, it’s yet another a white-male fest, which is certainly part of the problem.