Hours Adjustments, Job Quality, and the Effects of Labor Market Policies: A Three-Country Study of Retail Jobs

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Grant Type

Policy research grant


Analyses of the labor market distress caused by a recession naturally focus on the unemployment rate. But adjustments in working hours also affect the job quality of those employed. This study analyzes patterns of hours adjustments in the retail sector in the United States and two neighboring countries, Canada and Mexico, which differ significantly in policies affecting the labor market, and also in broad patterns in retail hours. The key goal is to examine alternative employment law, labor relations, and social insurance policies that would improve retail jobs (with lessons for other low-wage jobs as well) in the United States. The retail sector is the focus of the study because retail businesses depend vitally on employee hours adjustments for their service model, and because retail is the largest employment sector in the U.S. economy.