Jared Bernstein & Kathleen Bryant

Jared Bernstein is an economist and senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He was formerly chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden and a member of President Barack Obama’s economics team.

Kathleen Bryant is a research assistant in the Federal Fiscal team at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Recent Articles

Shutdown Lesson: Americans Can’t Afford to Miss One Weekly Paycheck

In a “great” economy, people don’t live paycheck-by-paycheck.

Every once and a while, something happens that creates a natural economic experiment. Because they have the potential to generate much more reliable findings than most economic research, such moments are as elucidating as they are rare. Probably the most popular such experiments have occurred when one place raises their minimum wage while the place next-door does not. Research on these outcomes has played a key role in laying the groundwork for much better, more progressive minimum-wage policies across the land. The latest such experiment is, however, far less encouraging. It is the harsh economic experience of those who have been furloughed or working without pay due to the government shutdown, now almost a record-breaking month long. This tweet from political comedian Bill Maher (warning: he curses), summarizes the “result.” By what rational measure can we say the economy’s “great,” when so many people are living paycheck-to-paycheck? At this stage, any...

The 2018 Economy, in 11 Graphs

Sure, we could have gotten you some socks or an anti-Trump coffee mug , but we instead opted for our ten coolest, most germane, info-packed graphics of 2018. And by ten, we mean 11 (inflation!). Here they are, with minimal annotation and links if you want to head deeper into the weeds. Data from BLS, BEA, and the Federal Reserve, Graph from Jared Bernstein’s Blog Everything you need to know about current macroeconomics, in one chart! This figure, which often accompanies our monthly job analyses , makes numerous profound points. For example, it shows that as the unemployment rate has fallen well below the Federal Reserve’s estimate of the “natural rate”—the lowest jobless rate consistent with stable prices—inflation hasn’t sped up much at all and is, in fact, still below the Fed’s 2 percent price target. Even as wages have started climbing a bit—finally!—inflation has remained tame. The punchline: our estimates of the natural...

Everywhere’s in Play: Ballot Initiatives and the Midterms

Now that we’ve had some time to catch our breath and reflect, we can evaluate the results of the midterms with a bit of distance. There were many important outcomes, especially the flipping of the House of Representatives. For us, even larger was the confirmation that our democracy, with all its increasingly evident flaws, still has a pulse. It can still self-correct. But while most national media focused on the congressional races, progressives across the country were also paying close attention to the results of state ballot initiatives on election night. Voters in states like Missouri, Oregon, and Washington not only had the opportunity to vote for progressive candidates on November 6—they also had the chance to vote directly for forward-looking state policies on health care, taxation, climate change, and a host of other critical issues. We cannot cover the electoral outcomes of every initiative on state ballots this month, since there were over 150 different ballot...

#MeToo and Women's Economic Empowerment

Low-wage women workers are the most vulnerable to harassment and abuse. Herewith, some policies to better protect them.

(Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
The women who have come forward to share their stories of sexual harassment and assault as part of the #MeToo movement are courageous and inspiring. They have chosen to pursue justice by publicly describing their traumatic experiences, knowing full well the scorn and baseless attacks on their character that they would face for doing so. Their bravery has resulted in a groundbreaking cultural shift in the way we talk about and address sexual abuse. Yet it is also true that many of the most high-profile women in the #MeToo movement have a host of advantages in their lives. They include wealthy white women, with white-collar professional jobs or influential careers in entertainment, academia, or politics. As many of these women, despite these advantages, are still not taken seriously by large swaths of the American public, we should be gravely concerned about how women in marginalized communities fare when it comes to the workplace harassment and sexual assaults that they experience. Low...

There Is No ‘Trump Economy,’ Especially in Workers’ Paychecks

Unless you’re in the top few percent, Trump's mark on the economy isn't pretty. 

To hear President Trump and his economics team tell the story, the U.S. economy was in shambles until they came along to fix it. The falsity of this claim is widely known to the majority who have learned that this president lies a lot. But as the overall U.S. economy has been posting some impressive numbers, it’s worth taking a quick dive into these claims. To telegraph our punchline, our analysis clearly reveals that Trump is riding trends he inherited. He took office in year eight of a solid expansion, and he’s benefitting from its continuation. Yet, while growth remains strong, it is not reaching working people, and here, the President’s policies—specifically, his corporate tax cuts—are playing a role. To be fair, presidents always take credit for growth on their watch (and defer blame for negative trends), but, as in so many other areas, Trump is different. His inaugural speech spoke of “American carnage.” This summer, he claimed that when...