How to Manage a Boom

July 23, 2021

And draw 28 million more people into the labor force

The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.

Full Employment, Reimagined

The COVID-19 recession was the shortest on record. 

But to ensure that the current rebound lasts—and that everyone benefits—policymakers must reimagine full employment

As Roosevelt’s J.W. Mason, Mike Konczal, and Lauren Melodia explain in a new issue brief, the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO’s) current definitions of the potential labor force and maximum sustainable employment are flawed, underestimating how many people could and would work in a tight labor market and assuming that recent race, gender, and education gaps are inevitable.

By correcting those assumptions, they arrive at a new measure of full employment, and estimate that with sustained demand, 28 million more workers could be drawn into the labor force—but only with strong public investment. 

“With the right policy choices . . . the coming years could be remembered as the rebirth of a dynamic, more egalitarian US economy—an extended period of wage gains and capacity-boosting investment, with new spending pushing against the productive potential of the economy,” they write. 

Read more in “Reimagining Full Employment: 28 Million More Jobs and a More Equal Economy” and this fact sheet, and catch up on coverage in Fortune and Business Insider.

High-Wage Economy

“Because of smart policy choices, jobs are returning more quickly than they usually do after recessions, and workers are experiencing long-needed wage gains. This will feel and be different from the last three recoveries—in 2007, 2001, and 1990—which started with slow and weak jobs numbers and growth. We are beginning this recovery with a boom like the one we most recently saw in the late 1990s, and we have the potential to go beyond what that boom accomplished.”

Read more of Roosevelt’s new fact sheet: “High-Wage Economy: How Sustained Public Investment Can Reverse Decades of Wage Stagnation.”


EconCon 2021

On October 6 and 7, join experts, organizers, and advocates from Roosevelt and progressive organizations across the country at EconCon 2021, a virtual conference focused on building an economy that works for everyone. Register now


What We’re Reading

The Pandemic Drove Women Out of the Workforce. Will They Come Back? – Politico

Heat Waves Are Dangerous. Isolation and Inequality Make Them DeadlyWashington Post

The Next Test for Environmental Justice Policy? Defining “Disadvantaged Communities.” – Grist

How Far Has America Actually Come Since the Promises of the George Floyd Protests?Time 

Democrats’ Divide on Voting Rights Widens as Biden Faces PressureNew York Times