Low-Wage Work

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California Workers' Rights: A Manual of Job Rights, Protections and Remedies

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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%).

Ken Jacobs, Kuochih Huang, Jenifer MacGillvaryand Enrique Lopezlira

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

In this research brief we provide estimates of safety net use among families of construction workers in Texas. We find that almost half—46%—of families of construction workers in Texas are enrolled in one or more safety net programs at a cost to the state and the federal government of almost $2 billion per year. By comparison, among all Texas workers, 31% have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs. Over half (55%) of construction workers in Texas lack health insurance, two and a half times the rate for all workers (20%).

UC Berkeley Labor Center

Inventory of US City and County Minimum Wage Ordinances

Across the country, cities and counties have become laboratories of policy innovation on labor standards. Before 2012, only five localities had minimum wage laws; currently, 56 counties and cities do. To help inform policymakers and other stakeholders, the UC Berkeley Labor Center is maintaining an up-to-date inventory of these laws, with details on wage levels, scheduled increases, and other law details, as well as links to the ordinances.

Enrique Lopezlira, Kuochih Huang, Sarah Thomason, Annette Bernhardtand Ken Jacobs

California’s Labor Market in the Time of COVID-19: 2021 Chartbook

This data tool tracks the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers in California, and how the state is recovering from these effects. The pandemic left millions of Californians out of work, and while the economy has begun to recover in recent months, some workers continue to struggle. This resource will be updated periodically, as new data becomes available, to allow users to monitor the progress of labor markets in the state.

Ken Jacobsand Michael Reich

Massachusetts Uber/Lyft Ballot Proposition Would Create Subminimum Wage: Drivers Could Earn as Little as $4.82 an Hour

Uber and Lyft, along with a group of delivery network companies, have filed a ballot proposition in Massachusetts to create a separate set of labor standards for their drivers. After considering multiple loopholes, we find that the majority of Massachusetts drivers could earn as little as the equivalent of a $4.82 wage, while the minority of drivers who qualify for a health care stipend could earn the equivalent of just $6.75 per hour.

Ken Jacobsand Kuochih Huang

The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in California’s Construction Industry

Low wages and exploitative practices in the resident construction industry cause profound hardship for workers and their families. It also costs the public. This analysis finds almost half of families of construction workers in California are enrolled in a safety net program at an annual cost of over $3 billion. By comparison, just over a third of all California workers have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net program.

UC Berkeley Labor Center

RELEASE: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in California’s Construction Industry

The study, by Ken Jacobs and Kuochih Huang of the UC Berkeley Labor Center, finds that almost half of the families of construction workers in California are enrolled in a safety net program at an annual cost of over $3 billion in public funds. By comparison, just over a third of all California workers have a family member enrolled in one or more safety net programs.

UC Berkeley Labor Center

The Public Cost of a Minimum Wage Below $15 in Delaware

This data brief estimates the public cost to Delaware and the federal government from the use of safety net programs among low-wage working families who would be directly affected by an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. We find that just over half of these Delaware families (51%) are enrolled in at least one safety net program, at an annual cost of $700 million.