Enrique
Lopezlira

Director, Low-Wage Work Program

elopezlira@berkeley.edu

Program Area

Low-Wage Work

About Enrique

Enrique Lopezlira is the director of the Low-Wage Work program at the UC Berkeley Labor Center. He is a labor economist, directing and conducting research on how policies affect working families, with a particular focus on how these policies impact racial and gender equity.

Dr. Lopezlira previously served as senior policy advisor for economic and employment policy at UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza), one of the largest Latinx civil rights organizations in the nation. He also served as deputy director for policy and research at Western Progress, a think tank advancing progressive policies and change in the eight states of the Rocky Mountain West.

He also brings experiences in advising various government agencies and testifying at the state and federal levels. He is often asked for his economic insights and analysis by English and Spanish media; he has appeared on CNN, CNN en Español, and Univision, and has been covered in Al Jazeera, Politico, and the Washington Post.

Dr. Lopezlira holds a doctorate in economics from Howard University. He also holds a master’s degree in international management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from Arizona State University.

    Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

    The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Illinois Construction Industry

    In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Illinois. We find that 34% of families of construction workers in Illinois are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of over half a billion dollars per year. By comparison, among all Illinois workers, 30% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. The rate at which construction workers lack health insurance (21%) is more than two and a half times the rate for all workers in Illinois (8%).

    Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

    The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the US Construction Industry

    In this paper we look at the use by construction workers and their families in the United States of five means-tested safety net programs. We find that 39% of families of construction workers are enrolled in one or more safety net program at a cost of almost $28 billion per year. In comparison, 31% of all workers have a family member enrolled in a safety net program. Three times as many construction workers as all workers lack health insurance (31% compared to 10%).

    Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

    The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Connecticut Construction Industry

    In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Connecticut. We find that 39% of families of construction workers in Connecticut are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of over a quarter of a billion dollars per year. By comparison, among all Connecticut workers, 29% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of construction workers lack health insurance, more than three times the rate for all workers in Connecticut (7%).

    Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

    The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Pennsylvania Construction Industry

    In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Pennsylvania. We find that 28% of families of construction workers in Pennsylvania are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of $428 million per year. Compared to all Pennsylvania workers, construction workers are more than twice as likely to lack health insurance (7% compared to 16%).

    Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

    The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Washington Construction Industry

    In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Washington. We find that 38% of families of construction workers in Washington are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of over half a billion dollars per year. By comparison, among all Washington workers, 32% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. The rate at which construction workers lack health insurance is close to three times the rate for all workers in Washington (22% compared to 8%).