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SEIU 32BJ and COWS | Jul 11, 2014
Category: COWS, Jobs & Skills, State & Local Policy
Nearly one in four Boston families lives in poverty and incomes in the Greater Boston area are more unequally distributed than in the vast majority of other metro areas around the country. The good news is that the City has a number of important tools that can be engaged to address these problems. However, in order to maximize its effectiveness, the City will have to re-focus and re-organize its approach to economic development. Critically, the City must make combatting poverty and inequality a core priority in all of its programs. Moreover, the City should adopt a broader and more proactive vision of economic development and reorganize programs and structures accordingly. This report, co-written with SEIU 32BJ, identifies five key ways in which the City can re-focus and re-organize its programs and provides a number of specific recommendations of steps the City should take. 

Key Recommendations:
  1. Use every possible point of leverage in the City's purchasing, development and financial systems to create good, family-sustaining jobs with decent wages, paid time off, health insurance and adequate hours.
  2. Fully enforce and expand the application of the Boston Living Wage ordinance. Expand the scope of the Living Wage ordinance to provide for paid time off, health insurance and full time work.
  3. Re-organize the structure of planning and development agencies, primarily the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) to include a focus on creating family-sustaining jobs, affordable housing and community building. Strict accountability standards are needed to ensure developers are meeting goals and standards.
  4. Initiate a comprehensive planning process which involves all impacted communities in development of a vision and plan for Boston.
  5. In all things prioritize equity of access for all city residents and ease of entry and participation in city life for all groups, including recent immigrants.
Jul 02, 2014
Category: COWS, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

After more than six years, the U.S. economy finally came back to pre-recession levels of employment in May. And that milestone makes it clear that the recovery is farther behind in Wisconsin. New data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Wisconsin lost 1,000 jobs in April. The state’s job growth has been relatively consistent but slow. Just as the U.S. clears the 2007 high, Wisconsin is still far from recovering back to that level.

Wisconsin’s job deficit now stands at 129,330. The state still has 24,200 fewer jobs than in 2007 before the beginning of Great Recession. Wisconsin’s population has grown since then. Just to keep up with that growth, Wisconsin needs to add another 105,100 jobs. These two numbers added together – 129,300 – account for the current Wisconsin Job Deficit.

Wisconsin job growth over the course of the recovery has been slow. And while the national pace has been faster, neither Wisconsin nor the nation has strong enough job growth to absorb new workers supplied by continuing population growth. When the labor market is week, too many workers are still waiting to find a job or to have greater security and hours in their current job.
May 22, 2014
Category: COWS, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

The economic recovery continues in Wisconsin, producing new jobs in the state, though still not enough to go back to pre-recession levels. New data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Wisconsin added 8,000 jobs in April. Considering gains in April and March, the state has recovered all the jobs lost in February’s decline. The upward trajectory appears relatively consistent but remains quite slow. More than six years since the beginning of the recession, Wisconsin is still far from the jobs recovery workers need.

 

Wisconsin’s job deficit now stands at 127,730. That total deficit consists of two parts. First, Wisconsin still has 24,100 fewer jobs than in 2007 before the beginning of Great Recession. Second, just to keep up with population growth, Wisconsin needs to add another 103,630 jobs above the 2007 level. These two numbers added together – 127,730 – account for the current Wisconsin Job Deficit.

 

Anemic job growth over the course of the recovery has failed to close the gap. And Wisconsin’s jobs recovery lags even the slow pace of the national one. Nationally, the labor market is about to return to pre-recession levels. Wisconsin still hasn’t made it up to that level. The job deficit means that too many workers are still waiting to find a job or to have greater security and hours in their current job. Adding 8,000 jobs per month (as we did in April) still puts closing the Wisconsin Job Deficit some 15 months away.

Bill Halloway, Chris Spahr, and Satya Rhodes-Conway | May 02, 2014
Category: State & Local Policy, Transportation

Freight transportation is a critical element of both our national and local economies. Yet, it creates a number of challenges for cities due to congestion, emissions, crashes, noise and other factors. This report provides your city with low cost policy-driven measures to reduce the negative impacts of freight transportation.

 

Increasing the efficiency of freight movement and addressing the social costs and environmental justice issues of freight transportation are not mutually exclusive. The strategies identified in this report can help cities meet their transportation challenges in the years ahead while promoting just, healthy, and sustainable freight practices.

Apr 21, 2014
Category: COWS, State & Local Policy, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

The economic recovery continues in Wisconsin, producing new jobs in the state, though still not enough to go back to pre-recession levels. New data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Wisconsin added 6,900, after a big drop in February. Growth had been relatively consistent up to that point, but not especially rapid. More than six years since the beginning of the recession, Wisconsin is far from the jobs recovery workers need.

 

Wisconsin’s job deficit now stands at 134,780. Wisconsin still has 32,500 fewer jobs than in 2007 before the Great Recession. Wisconsin’s population has grown since then. Just to keep up with that growth, Wisconsin needs to add another 102,280 jobs. These two numbers added together – 134,780 – account for the current Wisconsin Job Deficit.

 

Job growth over the course of the recovery has been too slow to close the gap. Nationally, the labor market is about to return to pre-recession levels. Wisconsin still hasn’t made it up to that level. And given population, too many workers are still waiting to find a job or to have greater security and hours in their current job. Adding 6,900 jobs per month (as we did in March) means that recovering all of the jobs lost since 2007 would take almost two more years.
Ceri Jenkins, Adam Schepker, and Satya Rhodes-Conway | Mar 12, 2014
Category: Jobs & Skills: Workforce Development & Industry Partnerships, State & Local Policy, High Road
Every city has a food economy and most have at least the beginnings of a local food value chain. This means that every city has an opportunity to increase local economic activity, create jobs, and promote healthy, local food by helping local businesses to capture more of this market. Cities should include local food as part of their economic development efforts, and this paper will help them do that. Nationally, the trend is toward local food – cities should take advantage of this. This report, written by the Mayors Innovation Project (a COWS initiative), is a complement to the previous report, Promoting Access to Healthy, Local Food.
Wisconsin Budget Project and COWS | Feb 28, 2014
Category: COWS, High Road, Wisconsin


Income inequality continues to grow in Wisconsin and the United States, producing an ever-widening chasm between the rich and poor. Over the last 40 years, Wisconsin’s richest residents have experienced dramatic increases in income, while Wisconsinites not among the very highest earners saw their incomes stagnate or decline.


Wisconsin’s growth and prosperity are not being equally shared. The rewards of prosperity have been concentrated on the richest 1%. As a state, this should be of substantial concern, not only because of the slow or non-existent growth in incomes for the remaining 99% percent of families, but also because increasing disparity comes with substantial social costs.


All data in this report comes from The Increasingly Unequal States of America: Income Inequality by State, 1917 to 2011, written by Estelle Sommeiller and Mark Price for the Economic Analysis and Research Network. Published by the Economic Policy Institute, the report explores the evolution of top income shares at the state level and provides the figures that allow this analysis of top incomes in Wisconsin. Income figures are presented in 2011 dollars.

Laura Dresser | Feb 24, 2014
Category: COWS, High Road, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Job Quality & Industry Studies, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

This report analyzes the economic impact of a minimum wage increase to $10.10 per hour for Wisconsin workers. Increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 by July 2016 would increase wages for over half a million Wisconsin workers. Additionally, as parents see wages go up, some 234,000 Wisconsin children will see family income rise as a result. Of the 587,000 Wisconsin workers who would be affected by raising the wage to $10.10, 57 percent are women, 79 percent of workers are 20 years old or older, 47 percent of workers have at least some college education, 42 percent of workers work more than 35 hours per week, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) are in families with income under than $60,000.

 

 

Additionally, the report addresses the claim that increasing the minimum wage destroys jobs. Over the last twenty years, numerous studies have confirmed that minimum wage increases do not reduce overall employment levels. A letter signed by nearly 600 economists, including seven Nobel prize winners and eight past presidents of the American Economic Association, states that “the weight of evidence now [shows] that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market.” 

 

COWS Staff | Feb 06, 2014
Category: COWS, Jobs & Skills, State & Local Policy, High Road

Summary (82 pg)

Full Report (328 pg)

 


This report is based on the practical experience and struggle of elected officials and advocates from around the country in moving their communities onto the “high road” of shared prosperity, environmental sustainability, and efficient democratic government. Its goal is to arm progressive local elected leaders and advocates with a range of effective policies that, if adopted, would make a significant difference in getting on that high road. They will be able to use better democratic organization to add value, reduce waste, and capture and share locally the great benefits of doing both.

 

Watch official report release, with a discussion including COWS Director Joel Rogers, below>>
 

 

Our full report on some of this work is organized into eight areas of local government policy and responsibility:

• Economic development and job creation
• Infrastructure
• Revenue
• Job standards
• Housing
• Education
• Health
• Civil rights

Michele Mackey, Matías Cociña, and Laura Dresser | Dec 23, 2013
Category: COWS, State & Local Policy, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

Wisconsin has the regrettable distinction of ranking among the worst states in the nation in terms of racial equality. Various aspects of the disparity – from education to jobs and income to incarceration – have been documented consistently for more than a decade. This report pulls together a range of data from public sources to make the racial disparities in the state clear. Brutal inequities in the state span measures of poverty, unemployment, educational attainment, and incarceration.