Senior Economist and Director of Policy
Areas of expertise
Labor policy • wage inequality • unemployment insurance • long-term unemployment • labor force participation • minimum wage • overtime
Heidi Shierholz leads EPI’s Perkins Project on Worker Rights and Wages, a policy response team that tracks the Trump administration’s wage and employment policies. She also heads EPI’s efforts to advance a worker-centered policy agenda. Throughout her career, Shierholz has educated policymakers, journalists, and the public about the effects of economic policies on low- and middle-income families. Her research and insights on unemployment insurance, on workers “missing” from the labor force, on income and wealth inequality, on young workers, and on many other topics routinely shape policy proposals and inform economic news coverage. Her work has been cited in many broadcast, radio, print, and online news outlets, including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post.
Shierholz was an economist at EPI from 2007 to 2014 and she rejoined EPI in 2017. From 2014 to 2017, she served under the Obama administration as chief economist at the Department of Labor. There she worked with Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and other DOL leaders on developing and executing initiatives to boost workers’ rights, their wages and benefits, protect savings, and increase workplace safety. She also provided economic analysis on the wages of jobs being added in the recovery, brought heightened attention to the need for paid family leave, and fought for new regulations guaranteeing overtime pay to millions of workers and paid sick leave for over a million workers on federal contracts.
Prior to joining EPI in 2007, Shierholz was assistant professor of economics at the University of Toronto. Shierholz commutes to work on a steel-framed bicycle and in her—limited—free time tends to her beehives.
Ph.D., Economics, University of Michigan
M.A., Economics, University of Michigan
M.S., Statistics, Iowa State University
B.A., Mathematics, Grinnell College