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ProfitWise News and Views, No. 2, 2016
Employment Challenges for the Formerly Incarcerated

The U.S. economy is on a historic run of job creation, with 76 straight months of job growth as of June 2016. Many firms are looking for new pools of talent as traditional pools are increasingly absorbed by rising employment. Wages are beginning to rise more rapidly than they have for several years, with ADP’s Workforce Vitality Report for Q1 2016 estimating annual wage growth for full-time job holders of 4.7 percent. The strengthening labor market provides an opportunity for both employers and policymakers to reconsider the status of subgroups that face distinct barriers to the job market. One important underemployed subgroup is the formerly incarcerated. This article summarizes some of the challenges preventing many former prisoners from entering the labor force, and provides an overview of two recent symposiums organized by the Fed’s Community Development and Policy Studies (CDPS) unit to explore policy and programmatic interventions to address the issue.



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