Workers and the Workplace

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Demand for educated, versatile workers who can interpret complex information and adapt to innovation is higher than ever. RAND pursues research that helps people, organizations, and governments understand how workers can remain engaged and productive in a changing global economy. Studies address workforce development, gender equity in the workplace, working conditions, and workplace wellness programs.

  • Rose Carter, of Lexington, waits in a line outside a temporary unemployment office established by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet at the State Capitol Annex in Frankfort, Kentucky, June 17, 2020, photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Pandemic Is Completely Changing the Way We Treat Unemployment

    Feb 1, 2021

    Unemployment insurance is the most important fiscal response the United States has during a recession, because it sends timely, targeted, and temporary financial assistance to those directly affected by the downturn. What the CARES Act created—remarkably high benefits for more workers—was a short-term experiment born of necessity, but it could have a lasting influence on public policy.

  • A couple managing their finances using a laptop and calculator, photo by fizkes/Getty Images

    Report

    The Decline of the American Middle Class

    Feb 25, 2021

    Depending on definition, the American middle class has been either receiving less income or shrinking in size since the 1970s. And the pandemic's effects on the economy will likely accelerate the decline of the middle class and disproportionate entry into the lower class.

Explore Workers and the Workplace

  • Man speaking to his psychologist via telemedicine, photo by Merlas/Getty Images

    News Release

    Telemedicine Can Help Safety-Net Providers Expand Specialized Medical Services

    Safety-net medical providers can substantially increase their telemedicine services with modest investments in new staff and technology, a move that can help them expand patients' access to specialized medical care.

    Jul 29, 2020

  • Multimedia

    From the Community Corrections Lens

    In this Events @ RAND podcast based on the Career Prospects for People with Criminal Records Symposium held at RAND in 2019, Veronica Cunningham and Nicole Jarrett offer their perspectives on the next steps that policymakers, practitioners, and employers can take to equalize employment opportunities for individuals with criminal records. RAND's Dionne Barnes-Proby hosts.

    Jul 29, 2020

  • Blog

    Reopenining Schools, Affordable Housing, Unemployment: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the debate about reopening schools, how a decline in commercial real estate demand could help address the housing crisis, challenges facing the U.S. unemployment system, and more.

    Jul 24, 2020

  • A man walks past the shuttered Richard Rodgers Theatre, home of the popular musical “Hamilton,” in New York, July 2, 2020, photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    Commentary

    Arts and Cultural Workers Are Especially Vulnerable to the Pandemic

    Workers in the arts and cultural industries could be especially vulnerable to the economic shocks of COVID-19. As the United States reopens and decides its future, it should recognize these vulnerabilities, as well as the benefits that the arts and cultural industries offer.

    Jul 23, 2020

  • People line up outside a career center, hoping to find assistance with their unemployment claims, Frankfort, Kentucky, June 18, 2020, photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is the U.S. Stuck with a Fixed Add-On for Unemployment?

    When COVID-19 led to millions of Americans losing their jobs, Congress moved to increase unemployment benefits by $600 a week. What should happen when those extra benefits expire?

    Jul 23, 2020

  • Multimedia

    Practitioners’ Views on Barriers and Opportunities

    In this Events @ RAND podcast based on the Career Prospects for People with Criminal Records Symposium held at RAND in 2019, Joshua Miller, Toney L. Earl Jr., Tony Lewis Jr., and Andrew Morton discuss strategies for overcoming barriers and improving employment outcomes through reentry, community supervision, and employer-driven programs.

    Jul 22, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Career Guidance in Schools: Research with schools and providers of career guidance services in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

    This report examines the provision of career guidance in schools and colleges in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region.

    Jul 21, 2020

  • Mature Black women working on a computer at home, photo by Goodboy Picture Company/Getty Images

    Commentary

    National Security and Workplace Flexibility Aren't Incompatible After All

    For years, the U.S. Defense Department dismissed workplace flexibility as being incompatible with national security. But during the pandemic, flexibility became a matter of survival for all employers, including Defense. The question now is whether it will keep recent adaptations or go back to its rigid ways.

    Jul 17, 2020

  • Social distancing dividers for students in a classroom at St. Benedict School in Montebello, near Los Angeles, California, July 14, 2020, photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    Commentary

    Back to School: Working Parents Will Need Help from Employers

    Reopening schools would provide much-needed child care for parents who need to work, help feed 30 million U.S. children, and prevent further inequitable learning losses. But it also means exposing more kids to the virus. How can families and employers prepare for the disruptions that lie ahead?

    Jul 17, 2020

  • Blog

    COVID Learning Loss, Russian Trolls, Artificial Intelligence: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on helping students recover learning losses, fighting Russian trolls, racial disparity in unemployment benefits, the race for AI leadership, and more.

    Jul 17, 2020

  • Whitney Maddox and DeShaun Bradford stand in line with hundreds of others outside a career center in Frankfort, Kentucky, hoping for assistance with their unemployment claim, June 18, 2020, photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Racial Disparity in Unemployment Benefits

    Economic racial inequality in America cannot be solved through unemployment insurance, but it certainly shouldn't be exacerbated by it. And yet, Black workers are less financially supported during unemployment, simply by virtue of where they live.

    Jul 15, 2020

  • Multimedia

    Certification, Background Checks, and Stigma

    In this Events @ RAND podcast based on the Career Prospects for People with Criminal Records Symposium held at RAND in 2019, Peter Leasure, Michael Vuolo, and Naomi F. Sugie present evidence from employer and job-seeker studies on Ban-the-Box, Certificates of Relief, and background checks.

    Jul 15, 2020

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: July-August 2020

    Feature stories explore what research says about learning loss after extended school breaks; how stress and trauma affect individual and community health; and how a critical care surge response tool is helping hospitals during the pandemic.

    Jul 13, 2020

  • Street sign with Wall St. and Main St. signs, photo by BobHemphill/Getty Images

    Commentary

    A Tale of Two Americas

    Economic pain in the United States is obvious and palpable everywhere except in the stock market. This spotlights inequality that has been increasing for decades. Undoing disparities will require firm policy commitment over many years.

    Jul 9, 2020

  • Episode 1 of Career Prospects for People with Criminal Records

    Multimedia

    How Do People Stop Committing Crimes?

    In this Events @ RAND podcast based on the Career Prospects for People with Criminal Records Symposium held at RAND in 2019, senior policy researcher Shawn D. Bushway explains the concept of desistance, or how and when people with criminal records stop offending.

    Jul 8, 2020

  • The Unequal Nature of Damage from COVID-19

    Multimedia

    The Unequal Nature of the Damage from COVID-19

    Shanthi Nataraj, senior economist with the RAND Corporation, explains which communities and businesses have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Jul 7, 2020

  • An employee of a pizza restaurant talks to a customer in Austin, Texas, June 28, 2020, photo by Sergio Flores/Reuters

    Commentary

    COVID-19's Depletion of Entry-Level Summer Jobs Can Have Long-Lasting Effects

    Summer is typically when employment for young workers is at its highest. One of the many costs of the pandemic is lower employment rates. For young workers, it's not just an issue of lost wages; there is also an effect on their personal job history.

    Jul 6, 2020

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    How Can the United States Prepare a Workforce for Advanced Manufacturing Using Robotics?

    As industrial robots become more advanced, there likely will be a shortage of technicians with the skills to work with, program, and repair them. This brief presents findings of RAND researchers' analysis of the state of training for these workers.

    Jul 6, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    How small businesses are coping with the impact of COVID-19: Results from a survey in Turkey and the Middle East

    SPARK, an NGO supporting young people's access to education and employment, commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a survey to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Middle East and Turkey.

    Jul 6, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    An Analysis of Education and Training Programs in Advanced Manufacturing Using Robotics

    As industrial robots become more advanced, there likely will be a shortage of human workers with the technical and nontechnical skills to work with, program, and repair these robots. RAND researchers assess the state of training for these workers.

    Jul 6, 2020