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 policy team, which monitors wage and employment policies coming out of Congress and the administration and advances a worker-first 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 labor and employment policy, the effects of automation on the labor market, wage stagnation, inequality, and 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 HuffPost.
Shierholz was an economist at EPI from 2007 to 2014 and she rejoined EPI in 2017. From 2014 to 2017, she served the Obama administration as chief economist at the Department of Labor. She worked with Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and other department leaders to develop and execute initiatives to boost workers’ rights, wages, and benefits; to protect workers’ savings, and to increase workplace safety. She also provided economic analysis on the wages of jobs added during the recovery, brought heightened attention to the need for paid family leave, and fought for new regulations guaranteeing overtime pay for millions of workers and paid sick leave for over a million federal contract workers.
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