The jobs America needs to support workers and the economy

A woman stands in the doorway of a beige building.
Ericka Trinh, owner of Anh's Hairstylists, temporarily closed the salon in March when the state's stay-at-home order took affect.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News file

It’s a tough time to be a worker. The economy is slogging forward and adding jobs after record 14.7 percent unemployment in April. But millions of people are still out of work and no longer have jobs to return to. And not all jobs are created equal.

Even before the pandemic, low-wage work was pervasive. According to Brookings, 53 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 — about 44 percent of all workers — have a median annual income of about $18,000. Is the pandemic our chance to rethink our country’s approach to labor?

Wednesday at 9 a.m., MPR News host Kerri Miller took a look at what makes some jobs bad – and how our economy could invest in better jobs.


  • Zeynep Ton is a professor in the operations management group at MIT Sloan School of Management and president of the nonprofit Good Jobs Institute. 

  • Rita Gunther McGrath is a professor at Columbia Business School where she directs the Strategic Growth and Change program.

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