Moving the Needle: What Tight Labor Markets Do for the Poor

Please join us on March 12 at 4:00pm for a talk focused on the book Moving the Needle: What Tight Labor Markets Do for the Poor, by Katherine S. Newman, UC System Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, and Elisabeth S. Jacobs, Deputy Director, WorkRise and Associate Vice President, Executive Office of Research, Urban Institute.

Paul Pierson, John Gross Endowed Chair, Professor of Political Science, and Director of BESI, will moderate.


About the Book

Most research on poverty focuses on the damage caused by persistent unemployment. But what happens when jobs are plentiful and workers are hard to come by? Drawing on over 70 years of quantitative data, as well as interviews with employers, jobseekers, and longtime residents of poor neighborhoods, Katherine S. Newman and Elisabeth S. Jacobs have investigated the most durable positive consequences of tight labor markets. Their recent book, Moving the Needle, provides an illuminating look at how very low unemployment boosts wages at the bottom, improves benefits, lengthens job ladders, and pulls the unemployed into a booming job market. It also reveals the downside of overheated economies that can ignite surging rents and spur outmigration, marking an urgent and original call to implement policies that will maintain the current momentum while still preparing for slowdowns.