It Took Six Major Depressions and a Lot of Out-of-Work Americans to Create a National Unemployment Count

What the Monthly Reports Measure, What They Miss, and How They Were Established

Monthly public reports on jobs and the unemployment rate are such a staple of American civic life that it can seem as if they’ve always been with us. But these reports are relatively new, and their establishment was neither quick nor easy. In recent months, they’ve become a barometer of the virus and our economic recovery, or lack thereof. Which is why we’d do well to understand what they measure, what they miss, and how they were established.

For the first 60 years of the modern economy—roughly from 1873 to 1933—the …

California’s Powerful, but Obscure, Answer to the COVID Jobs Crisis | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

California’s Powerful, but Obscure, Answer to the COVID Jobs Crisis

You May Never Have Heard of Your Local Workforce Development Boards, but They Know How to Move the State Forward

We can bring jobs back to California, and we can do it right now. The latest employment numbers should provide the sense of urgency. An additional 287,354 new unemployment insurance …

Your Kid’s College Degree Might Be Worthless

Author Jeff Selingo Says Students Aren’t Getting the Skills They Need for Today’s Economy

For decades, a college degree “was a signal that people were ready for the workforce,” a sign to parents that their children “were going to be golden in the job …

This Is How We Saved the Middle Class in the 1980s

We Faced Inequality and Unemployment 35 Years Ago. What We Did Then Could Work Again Now.

It’s easy to think that, in the world of employment and anti-poverty programs, nothing ever changes, that the same joblessness continues even as the government spends billions of dollars each …

How to Jumpstart the L.A. Economy

The Country's Second Largest Metropolis Could Start by Improving Its Schools

When it comes to its economic vitality over the last quarter-century, Los Angeles is in the same league as Cleveland and Detroit, lagging far behind the nation as a whole, …

Merced’s Kids Are Not All Right

In California’s Capital of Youth Poverty, We’re Fighting For Everything From Summer Jobs to Swimming Pools

Have you heard of “disconnected youth?” It’s a term for young people age 16-19 who are neither employed nor in school. My county, Merced, has won the disconnected youth prize …