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This Morning: CBPP Event on Full Employment



CBPP and our Senior Fellow Jared Bernstein will kick off our year-long project on making full employment a national priority with a keynote address from former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and then a panel among Bernstein and other leading economists.  (Watch a live webcast.)  The project comprises eight papers released today by top economists on how to start the nation on a path back to full employment.

Bernstein’s overview piece makes three basic points:

First, the absence of full employment labor markets, where the vast majority of job-seekers can handily find work, has been one of the most damaging aspects of the US economy over many recent years.

Second, over the past four decades, full employment job markets have been the exception, not the norm.  This has caused many economic problems, from stagnant real earnings, to rising inequality, to slower macroeconomic growth.

Third, the generalized absence of full employment is not an act of nature.  It is the outcome of negligent public policy that can be corrected.  There are numerous steps policy makers can take to boost labor demand, create more and better jobs, and to get the US economy on a path towards full employment.

The other papers include:

  • Larry Summers, Brad DeLong, and Laurence Ball on why the conventional wisdom that fiscal policy should focus on controlling budget deficits rather than stabilizing the business cycle is wrong;
  • Susan Houseman on the real causes of the significant decline in manufacturing jobs;
  • Dean Baker on why the trade deficit is a notable obstacle to full employment;
  • Ross Eisenbrey on why improving job quality is integral to addressing income inequality;
  • Kevin Hassett and Michael Strain on how work-sharing programs can allow more people to keep their jobs in times of labor market slack;
  • Harry Holzer and Robert Lerman on the benefits of apprenticeships and other work-based learning; and
  • LaDonna Pavetti on the potential for the federal government to subsidize jobs during a downturn.