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CEPR Report: How to Create More 'Good' Jobs

April 30th, 2013 | Kenneth Quinnell

Kenneth Quinnell

Kenneth Quinnell

new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) shows the country needs to increase union membership significantly, create universal health care, a universal retirement system (beyond Social Security), expand college attainment and achieve gender pay equity to create more “good” jobs in the United States.

CEPR defines a good job as one that pays at least $19 per hour, has employer-provided health insurance and has some kind of retirement plan. In previous reports, they showed there has been a significant decline in the past 30 years in the share of good jobs in the United States. The decline comes despite increases in productivity and educational attainment of the workforce.

The report notes that one of the key reasons for the decline in good jobs in recent decades is the decline in union participation. Increasing the percentage of the workforce that belongs to unions translates to an increase of good jobs of just less than 7%.

In the report, CEPR has five primary conclusions:

  1. It will take big steps to increase the number of good jobs in the economy, and none of the policies they propose would be sufficient alone.
  2. Eliminating bad jobs is easier than creating good jobs.
  3. Pursuing more than one of these policies would raise the number of good jobs more than the sum of the two policies individually.
  4. Increasing the membership of unions creates more good jobs than a comparable expansion of college attainment would, and it would do it more quickly than expanding college attainment.
  5. Gender pay equity would erase most of the good jobs gap between men and women.

Read the full report.

This article was originally posted on the AFL-CIO on April 29, 2013. Reprinted with Permission.

About the Author: Kenneth Quinnell is a long-time blogger, campaign staffer and political activist whose writings have appeared on AFL-CIO, Daily Kos, Alternet, the Guardian Online, Media Matters for America, Think Progress, Campaign for America’s Future and elsewhere.


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One Response to “CEPR Report: How to Create More 'Good' Jobs”

  1. Charles Read Says:


    I read the report. What I didn’t see was any suggestions as how to accomplish this.

    I personally see two ways to do this. One, the path we are on leads to unmitigated disaster and economic ruin. That is steal the tools of production and give it to the unions such as what happened with GM and Chrysler. Make huge loans to alternative energy companies who promise high wages and go bankrupt. Take options away from women to choose how they want to live there lives and choose the jobs they want. Tax the “rich” until there is no investment capital for new enterprises. Mandate that wages be set a “living” wage regardless of what the market supports. (See Hostess Bakery problems. Continue to change the laws on the fly and by regal fiat so business people can not plan for next year let alone for 10 or 20 years.

    Or return to the values that made America the richest nation in the world. Self sufficiency. Individualism. Free Enterprise. If laborors want to unionize fine but let the union provide value like they use to with training and apprentiship programs and a labor hall of people willing to work. George W Bush tried to privatize the Social Security system. The amount of money invested would make for wonderful retirements is properly invested. See the story of Galveston County Retirment http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/opinion/2005-03-15-benefits-reform-galveston_x.htm . But the Democrats in Congress killed it. Also by making government guarenteed loans available the colleges quit competing on tution rates and recent college graduates now owe a TRILLION dollars in debt. There also is no real gender gap in wages. When you really examine the numbers and choices women make the difference disappear. This second path is the road back to prosperity. The government is the problem not the solution.

    I taught my business students in high school the formula for wealth of a nation.

    Human Nature (to want something better than you have, call it greed if your must, including a better life for your kids) +

    Ownership of the tools and output of Production (You own the plant nobody can appropriate it on a whim and give it to somebody else, see Chrysler. You own the profits as well) +

    The rule of law (laws are constent and you can plan on them staying the same not changeing every time the President wants to buy votes or stomp on an “enemy” =


    Take any of those items away which is what our government is doing and the formula fails and poverty will ensue.

    Get an open mind and look for solutions. Don’t just repeat other people soltions with no way to implement let alone what the real costs and outcome would be.


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