The Public Interest

The puzzle of black male unemployment

Harry J. Holzer & Paul Offner

Winter 2004

THE last decade was a good one for low-income women, especially minorities and single mothers. Welfare reform pushed many of them into the labor force, and the strong economy helped others to find jobs. Initiatives to “make work pay,” such as child-care subsidies and an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), also raised the incentive to work. In all, policies stressing reciprocal obligations as well as incentives and work supports such as child-care assistance dramatically increased employment and reduced welfare dependency for this population.

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