Senior Economic Analyst | Deputy Director of EARN
By Area of Research:
May 4, 2016 | By David Cooper | ReportA proposed ballot initiative would gradually raise the District of Columbia’s minimum wage to $15 by mid-2020. It would also ensure tipped workers, such as waiters and bartenders, are eventually paid the full minimum wage, instead of the $2.77 subminimum wage. This proposal would raise wages for 114,000 working people—about 14 percent of all D.C. workers, and over one-fifth of D.C. private-sector workers. Once the minimum wage reaches $15, the average affected worker would earn roughly $2,900 more each year than she does today. Far from the stereotype of low-wage workers being teenagers working to earn spending money, those who would benefit are overwhelmingly adult workers, most of whom come from families of modest means, and many of whom are supporting families of their own.
April 9, 2016 | By David Cooper | AudioEPI’s David Cooper discussed how increases in the minimum wage at state and local levels would affect local economies and businesses and the effect on workers’ standards of living on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.”
April 1, 2016 | By David Cooper | AudioEPI’s David Cooper talked with the “PBS NewsHour” about recent legislative initiates by California and New York to raise their state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.
March 26, 2016 | By David Cooper | AudioIn an interview with the “PBS NewsHour,” EPI’s David Cooper discussed how many workers grapple with poverty rates due to the low federal minimum wage for tipped workers.
February 26, 2016 | By David Cooper | BlogThis November, voters in several states will consider ballot measures to raise their state minimum wages. Because all of the proposals would incrementally phase in the higher minimum wages over a period of several years, it is important to look beyond the headline dollar amounts proposed, and consider what the new minimum wages would equal for someone in today’s economy.
February 18, 2016 | By David Cooper | BlogRaising the federal minimum wage to $12 by 2020 would lift wages for more than 35 million workers nationwide and generate about $17 billion annually in savings to government assistance programs.
February 9, 2016 | By David Cooper | Economic SnapshotThere are 41.2 million working Americans (nearly 30 percent of the workforce) who receive public assistance—and nearly half of these workers (19.3 million) have full-time jobs. Not surprisingly, these workers are concentrated in jobs paying low hourly wages.
February 3, 2016 | By David Cooper | Briefing PaperHigher hourly wages for low- and middle-wage workers, achievable through a variety of labor-market policies, would unambiguously generate savings in government safety-net and income-support programs—savings that could be used to strengthen and expand anti-poverty programs or make critical public investments to boost productivity and grow the economy.
States heavily reliant on the energy sector had a tough year, but most other states finished 2015 heading in the right direction
January 28, 2016 | By David Cooper | State Jobs PictureAll but seven states gained jobs in 2015, and all but eight ended the year with lower unemployment than in December 2014. The states that lost jobs were almost exclusively states where the energy sector plays an outsized role in the state economy and where falling energy prices have led to cutbacks in oil and gas production.
Raising the New York state minimum wage to $15 by July 2021 would lift wages for 3.2 million workers
January 5, 2016 | By David Cooper | Briefing PaperRaising the New York minimum wage in several steps to $15 would restore its value to a level that ensures full-time work is a means to escape poverty—and would provide more than a third of New York’s workers with a long-overdue improvement in their standard of living.
December 18, 2015 | By David Cooper | State Jobs PictureToday’s State Employment and Unemployment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the picture of state labor market health in November was the same as it has been for months: stable job growth in most states at a rate strong enough to slowly reduce unemployment or at least keep it from rising.
November 20, 2015 | By David Cooper | State Jobs PictureThe state employment and unemployment figures for October, released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, were slightly more encouraging than the previous few months.
Waitstaff and bartenders are less likely to be in poverty when they are paid the regular minimum wage
October 21, 2015 | By David Cooper | Economic SnapshotThe poverty rate among servers and bartenders is dramatically lower in states where they must be paid the regular minimum wage than in states where restaurants can pay a base wage less than the full minimum wage.
October 20, 2015 | By David Cooper | State Jobs PictureThe State Employment and Unemployment Report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that job growth in most states has slowed over the past year.
September 22, 2015 | By David Cooper | Economic SnapshotIn 2014, 48.4 million people (or 15.3 percent of the US population) were in poverty, as measured by the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM)—a more sophisticated approach for measuring economic well-being than the official federal poverty line. However, that number would have been significantly higher were it not for government safety-net programs.
Job growth holds steady in most states, but labor force declines raise questions about falling unemployment
September 18, 2015 | By David Cooper | State Jobs PictureToday’s release of state employment and unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that over the summer months, most states remained largely on the same trajectory they have been on for the past year, if not the past several years. The pace of overall job growth nationwide was roughly the same as it was at this time last year, although slightly fewer states added jobs this summer than last.
September 18, 2015 | By David Cooper | BlogBetween 2013 and 2014, the poverty rate in most states was largely unchanged, according to yesterday’s release of state poverty statistics from the American Community Survey (ACS). While the poverty rate fell slightly for the country as a whole, most of the changes at the state level were too small to signify a meaningful difference. As of 2014, only two states—North Dakota and Colorado—have poverty rates at or below their 2007 values, before the Great Recession.
September 18, 2015 | By David Cooper | BlogThursday’s release of state income data from the American Community Survey (ACS) showed that the gradual improvement in state economies from 2013 to 2014 brought little change in overall economic conditions for households in most states. The ACS data showed a slight increase in median household income for the United States overall and similar modest increases in household incomes in a majority of states—although only a handful of these increases were statistically significant.
September 17, 2015 | By David Cooper | BlogDespite an improving economy, the same proportion of Americans is still struggling to make ends meet.
August 21, 2015 | By David Cooper | State Jobs PictureThe July State Employment and Unemployment report, released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was remarkable only for its consistency: most states added jobs at the same decent pace that has become the norm over the past few years—strong enough to not cause alarm, but too weak to quickly drive down unemployment.
July 21, 2015 | By David Cooper | Economic IndicatorsThe June State Employment and Unemployment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed little change in state labor markets heading into the summer months.
July 14, 2015 | By David Cooper | Briefing PaperRaising the federal minimum wage to $12 by 2020 would restore its value to a level that ensures full-time work is a means to escape poverty, and would provide tens of millions of America’s lowest-paid workers with a small yet long-overdue improvement in their standard of living.
Testimony before the New York State Department of Labor Wage Board: Hearing on Increasing the Minimum Wage in the Fast-Food Industry
June 22, 2015 | By David Cooper | TestimonyThe following is the testimony of David Cooper, EPI senior economic analyst, in a hearing before the New York State Department of Labor Wage Board in Albany, N.Y.
June 19, 2015 | By David Cooper | State Jobs PictureThe Bureau of Labor Statistic’s May State Employment and Unemployment report showed most states continued on the generally positive—albeit somewhat unremarkable—track they’ve been on for the past year.
May 27, 2015 | By David Cooper | State Jobs PictureThe April State Employment and Unemployment report, released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed most states are still plodding along with job growth sufficient to slowly bring down unemployment rates.
May 13, 2015 | By David Cooper | BlogAn eye-opening story published last week by the New York Times revealed how manicurists in New York’s booming nail salon industry are subject to brazen exploitation.