Time’s Curious Capitalist wondered the same thing, and emailed one of the study’s authors to find out. And there might be something to that critique. As the author explained:
The paper is based on family income including all other members of family and includes theoretically all cash transfers including unemployment insurance. It is true that a person who had a job a year ago and lost it and has no [unemployment insurance] coverage or other income can get pushed down to a much lower income but they are an overwhelming exception.
But, as The Curious Capitalist points out, “he said something else interesting:”
We ran this model before the recession started and results show overwhelmingly that low income workers were far more adversely affected. There are few job losses at top.
That’s not good. And it’s not too late to write about.
The gang at Northeastern has a more recent report that looks at the way age, race, gender, education and other factors impact unemployment—and underemployment—levels.
For the short version, check out this groovy interactive graph the Times posted late last year that lets you select age, race, gender and education and see that chances that someone is standing on the unemployment line. It’s pretty amazing to watch that line dance around, depending on what you choose.
There’s just one problem. The Times called the chart “The Jobless Rate for People Like You.” As this Northeastern research makes clear, the business press needs to look at the jobless rate for the new Joads. Sure looks like there are a lot more stories there.