Good Jobs, Bad Jobs, or No jobs? An Economic Analysis of the U.S. Labor Market since the Great Recession

Hello everyone. My name is Michael Pugliese and I’m a third-year at the University of Virginia. I’m looking forward to working with you all, and please leave a comment and/or contact info if you have any thoughts/suggestions/critiques/ etc.

On September 15th, 2008 Lehman Brothers collapsed, igniting a financial crisis that eventually lead to the “Great Recession.” In the years since, the U.S. economy and labor market have been topics of fervent discussion and debate. My research aims to cut through the deluge of media reports and partisan noise to 1) establish the true state of the U.S. economy and labor market and 2) ascertain what factors are primarily creating these conditions.

First, I will thoroughly examine government publications on the U.S. labor market, such as the monthly employment situation released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The oft-cited monthly payroll number barely scratches the surface of the wealth of information in these reports. I will use these publications and others to try and understand what’s really happening to workers in the U.S.

Second, I will compare the U.S. Government’s policy and political decisions since the onset of the Great Recession with its previous decisions in the wake of economic downturns. For example, how did President Reagan and Congress’s handling of the recovery in the early 1980’s compare to our current government’s?

The Great Recession had a dramatic impact on my community, region, and personal life. This subject drew me to economics, and with my research I aim to understand what happened, what’s happening now, and what can be done better today and tomorrow so that the next time an economic crisis strikes we respond appropriately.

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