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The ANNALS: Our Bimonthly Journal of Research

What Has Happened to the American Working Class since the Great Recession?
Special Editors: Timothy M. Smeeding, Jennifer Romich, and Michael R. Strain
Vol. 695, May 2021

Dramatic macroeconomic events have marked the first 21 years of the twenty-first century. The Great Recession (2007–2009), the largest and longest downturn since the Great Depression, was followed by the longest recovery in U.S. history. Of course, the Long Recovery then ended with a pandemic bang in March 2020. Though the Long Recovery was lengthy, it was also uneven. The Great Recession affected households in different socioeconomic circumstances quite differently. And so, the story of the Long Recovery from the Great Recession is not simple to tell.

The May 2021 volume of The ANNALS, “What Has Happened to the American Working Class since the Great Recession?” tells the story from the perspectives of economics, demography, sociology, and policy. Special editors Timothy M. Smeeding, Jennifer Romich, and Michael R. Strain bring together scholars from these disciplines to address, for example, what more than a decade of economic expansion following the Great Recession did for the working class and various groups of disadvantaged workers.

The articles in this volume give both hope and concern, as they provide a solid starting point for assessing the future of the working class.

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Featured Fellow

Cecilia Rouse

2015 Eleanor Roosevelt Fellow

Cecilia Elena Rouse is the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers​ (CEA). She was formerly Dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and the Lawrence and Shirley Katzman and Lewis and Anna Ernst Professor in the Economics of Education.

Rouse is the founding director of the Princeton University Education Research Section, a member of the National Academy of Education, and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her primary research interests are in labor economics with a focus on the economics of education. Rouse has served as an editor of the Journal of Labor Economics and is currently a senior editor of The Future of Children. In 1998–99 she served a year in the White House at the National Economic Council, and from 2009–2011 she served as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. She has been a member of the board of directors of MDRC, and a director of the T. Rowe Price Equity Mutual Funds and T. Rowe Price Fixed Income Mutual Funds. She received her BA in economics from Harvard University in 1986 and a PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1992.

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