Full Employment Is Good for Society

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June Zaccone

Jan 16, 2024, 9:02:06 AMJan 16
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Full Employment Is Good for Society Paul Krugman, NYT, 1/15/24

....Why did wage inequality fall? A number of states increased their minimum wages. Unions won some victories, and fear of unionization may have pushed some employers to increase pay. The main factor, however, was surely a tight labor market: Full employment greatly increases workers’ bargaining power.

Full employment also did wonders for another aspect of racial disparities: high Black unemployment. Last hired, first fired is still a very real fact of race relations in America; one measure of our success in finally achieving something like full employment is that the gap between Black and white unemployment rates is the smallest it has been since the government started collecting data on the subject.

....Full employment is extremely important not just because it leads to a higher gross domestic product but also because it helps create a healthier, fairer society. And we should fight back against political forces standing in the way of job creation. In particular, a gratuitous recession could all too easily undo much of the progress we’ve made.....

There are many things we still need to do to fulfill [the Rev. Martin Luther] King’s vision, and some of them will be hard. But one thing that should be relatively easy is providing an economy in which Americans who are willing to work — which means a great majority of adults — can find jobs."

June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Network
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