Research

Research Pages

The Bon-Temps Campus Plan (2020)

  • Report Authors: Stacey Sutton, Ryan Altizer, Joe Engleman, Andry Gonzalez, Anney Grish, Edith Portales, Zenaid Santos, Yun-Ni Tsai, Jazmin Vega, Julie Walsh & Karen Yates
  • During COVID Summer 2020, a team of Master of Urban Planning and Policy students working with Professor Stacey Sutton developed an urban agriculture adaptive reuse plan and feasibility study for Grow Greater Englewood and the Englewood Village Farmers. The plan and feasibility study aim to transform the abandoned Bontemps Elementary School building into a sustainable indoor urban agriculture ecosystem that includes farm cultivation, food processing, renewable energy, workforce development, learning and community enterprise called the Bon-Temps Campus.The Bon-Temps Campus will reclaim the space as an integrated and experiential training ground for urban agriculture and become a hub of innovation and exploration on Chicago’s South Side. Located at the literal heart of the Englewood Trail, Bon-Temps will once again be a campus – a community anchor that supports the needs of existing Englewood farmers, trains future generations of urban farmers, cultivates and sustains the local food system, incubates community-wealth through social enterprise grounded in community ownership, and bolsters the Englewood Urban Agricultural District.

Meeting the Moment: An Early Assessment of the Immigrant Worker Safety Net Fund during the COVID-19 Pandemic (2020)

  • Report Authors: Nik Theodore & Agustin Chiarella
  • At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)—a federation of community-based worker centers and advocacy organizations—implemented a plan to respond to the twin public health and unemployment crises that were rapidly unfolding. Making use of a national network of worker centers and their local organizational infrastructures, NDLON and its members quickly amassed and then administered cash and noncash aid, and provided emergency assistance to people who otherwise had been excluded from the federal government’s pandemic-relief initiatives. NDLON’s efforts constitute one of the primary civil-society responses to the exclusions faced by millions of immigrants who are not eligible for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and its Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program which provides relief to unemployed workers, as well as many state and local government relief programs.

“Regulating Informality: Worker Centers and Collective Action in Day Labor Markets,” Growth and Change 51(1): 144-160 (2020).

  • Article Author: Nik Theodore
  • Day-labor markets are characterized by chronic instability, low pay, and weak institutional protections against violations of labor standards. In the U.S., worker centers address these conditions through the operation of hiring halls that dispatch workers, set minimum wages, and redress wage theft. Surveys conducted in Seattle in 2012 and 2015 were used to evaluate wage rates, employment rates, and wage theft variables for workers at a worker center and those seeking employment at four informal hiring sites. Worker center members were found to have significantly higher wages, higher employment rates, and lower rates of wage theft than day laborers who search for employment in public spaces.

The Future of Warehouse Work: Technological Change in the U.S. Logistics Industry (2019)

  • Report Authors: Beth Gutelius & Nik Theodore
  • The authors project that the warehousing industry likely won’t experience dramatic job loss over the next decade, though many workers may see the content and quality of their jobs shift as technologies are adopted for particular tasks.

“Workplace Health and Safety Hazards Faced by Informally Employed Domestic Workers in the United States,” Workplace Health & Safety 67(1): 9-17 (2019).

  • Article Authors:  Nik Theodore, Beth Gutelius & Linda Burnham
  • Informally employed domestic workers encounter a range of workplace hazards, though these have been poorly documented and are typically left unacknowledged. Safety concerns include exposure to toxic cleaning products, a high prevalence of ergonomic injuries, and inadequate access to medical care. Presenting the results of an in-person survey of 2,086 informally employed nannies, housecleaners, and caregivers in 14 U.S. cities, this article documents the range of common health and safety hazards faced by domestic workers and suggests some interventions that could improve their working conditions. The survey was conducted in nine languages and data were collected from workers from 71 countries, including a substantial proportion with irregular immigration status. We observed that substandard workplace health and safety conditions are shaped by three aspects of domestic work: long-standing exclusions from federal employment protections, the common disregard of the home as a workplace, and the complexity of care work and the bonds of intimacy that often form through caregiving. Together these factors have served to perpetuate substandard working conditions. Regulatory reforms, as well as worker and employer education, are necessary to improve health outcomes for domestic workers.

The Worker Center Ecosystem in California: Organizing to Transform Low-Wage Industries. Washington, DC: LIFT Fund (2019)

  • Report Authors: Nik Theodore, Beth Gutelius & Ana Luz Gonzalez
  • This report presents a scan of California’s worker center ecosystem to assess key strategies, identify challenges and opportunities, and offer recommendations for strengthening the capacity of this vital workers’ rights infrastructure.

“Taming Globalization: Raising Labor Standards across Supply Chains,” in Fine J, Burnham L, Griffith K, Ji M, Narro V, and Pitts S, eds., No One Size Fits All: Worker Organization, Policy, and Movement for a New Economic Age, 341-358. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press (2018).

  • Chapter Author: Nik Theodore
  • This chapter examines two approaches for raising labor standards across global supply chains. Focusing on the Asia Floor Wage campaign and the workers’ rights campaign at C.J.’s Seafood, this chapter highlights efforts by labor groups to hold powerful corporations accountable for the employment practices of supplier firms. The campaigns featured here are notable because they target supply chains that span political jurisdictions, link product markets, and mobilize labor forces from various countries. Moreover, while they seek to leverage national laws and enforcement mechanisms, the strategies documented here reflect the regional character of production networks, and by doing so, they reconceptualize the terrain for worker organizing, bargaining, and activism.

Day Labor In Las Vegas. Chicago: UIC Great Cities Institute (2018).

  • Report Authors: Nik Theodore & Bliss Requa-Trautz
  • This report examines conditions in day labor markets in Las Vegas.

“The Future of Work: Urban Economies in Transition,” in Pagano MA, ed., Jobs and the Labor Force of Tomorrow: Migration, Training, Education, 3-22. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press (2017).

  • Chapter Authors: Beth Gutelius & Nik Theodore

Manufacturing Job Loss in U.S. Deindustrializing Regions, Its Consequences, and Implications for the Future: Examining the Conventional Wisdom (2014)

  • Report Authors: Eric Stokan, Howard Wial & Harold Wolman
  • There has been scant attention paid to the types of jobs that have replaced the manufacturing jobs lost since the 1970s. This article examines six widely held beliefs acknowledged as conventional wisdom and assesses the extent to which they are supported by actual factual analysis.

Metropolitan Economies in the Great Recession and After (2013)

  • Report Author: Howard Wial
  • This paper characterizes the economic performance of the 100 largest metropolitan areas during and after the Great Recession using four indicators: employment, the unemployment, rate gross metropolitan product (GMP), and house prices. Nearly half the metropolitan areas recovered their prerecession GMP by the third quarter of 2012 but only 10 recovered prerecession employment and none fully recovered house prices or unemployment rate. Industry composition is associated with the depth of recession and strength of recovery.

Locating Chicago Manufacturing: The Geography of Production in Metropolitan Chicago (2013)

  • Report Author: Howard Wial
  • This briefing paper, the first in CUED’s Manufacturing Chicago’s Future series, provides that basic information about the geographic aspects of Chicago-area manufacturing. It is based on an update of the author’s previous work on the geography of U.S. manufacturing, published last year by the Brookings Institution

New App for Making It in America: Year One Evaluation Report (2013)

  • Report Authors: Howard Wial, Peter Creticos & Meghan McShan
  • This report presents the Third Party Evaluator’s findings and recommendations from the first year of the “New App for Making It in America” project, covering the period August 2012-September 2013.  Supported by a three-year U.S. Department of Labor grant, the project seeks to build an industrywide training and career system for advanced manufacturing in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, metropolitan area that will meet the skill needs of new manufacturing startups, meet the labor market needs of workers, and increase manufacturing of new products in the Pittsburgh area and in the United States in general.

The Illinois Medical District: Its Economic Impact and Workforce (2013)

  • Report Authors: Elizabeth Scott & Howard Wial
  • This report assesses the size of the IMD’s impact on the Chicago regional economy and describes the IMD’s productive activity, jobs, and workforce.

An Unbalanced Pension Proposal (2013)

  • Report Authors: Stephen Herzenberg & Howard Wial
  • This briefing paper examines the “Universities” proposal to alter public employee pension systems in Illinois. It would erode retirement security, weaken schools’ ability to retain talented teachers, and create new threats to the financial sustainability of Illinois pension funds.

Multiplying Jobs: How Manufacturing Contributes to Employment Growth in Chicago and the Nation (2013)

  • Report Authors: Elizabeth Scott & Howard Wial
  • This briefing paper, the second in CUED’s Manufacturing Chicago’s Future series, focuses on the ways in which manufacturing jobs are linked to other jobs and shows the numbers of jobs that depend on manufacturing employment in the Chicago region and the nation as a whole.

Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage (2013)

  • Report Author: Robert D. Atkinson

Gauging Persistent Disparities: A Race Decomposition Analysis of Household Earnings in the United States Over Time (2012)

  • Report Author: Sharon H. Mastracci
  • This study examines demographic and economic trends over time and decomposes annual household earnings to determine the extent to which discrimination explains gaps between race and ethnic groups. Despite broad economic growth, a persistent proportion of the disparity in household income remains attributable to discrimination. Several policy implications flow from this finding, including support for full employment measures, affirmative action hiring and promotions, aggressive enforcement of existing anti-discrimination laws, and publicly-funded childcare and health care programs.

Finance & Insurance Career Pathways (2009)

  • Report Authors: Greg Shrock & Judith Kossy
  • This report examines career paths and skills crosswalks within the Finance and Insurance Sector (F&I Sector), comprised of the banking, insurance and securities industries. It provides information to assist employers expand their talent pool, individuals identify career opportunities in the sector, and education, training and workforce development organizations respond to the skill needs of employers and individuals.

Career Pathways & Crosswalks in the Hotel, Retail & Restaurant Industries (2007)

  • Report Authors: Greg Shrock & Judith Kossy
  • This report, completed for the Chicago Workforce Board with the support of the Joyce Foundation, examines career pathways and crosswalks in the hotel, restaurant and retail industries.

An Evaluation of Illinois’ JTED Program (2006)

  • Report Authors: Greg Shrock & Davis Jenkins
  • This report presents findings from an evaluation of Job Training and Economic Development (JTED), an innovative program unique to Illinois that fosters community-business partnerships for economic and workforce development. The study finds that JTED completers fare better in the labor market in earnings and employment.

The Hidden Public Cost of Low-Wage Work in Illinois (2006)

  • Report Authors: Nik Theodore & Marc Doussard
  • In this report, we measure the hidden public costs of low-wage work, and assess their implications for workers, employers, taxpayers and policy makers in Illinois.

The Hidden Public Cost of Low-Wage Work in Illinois: Data Sources and Calculations (2006)

  • Report Authors: Nik Theodore & Marc Doussard

On The Corner: Day Labor in the United States (2006)

  • Report Authors: Abel Valenzuela Jr., Nik Theodore, Edwin Meléndez & Ana Luz Gonzalez
  • This report analyzes data from the National Day Labor Survey, the first systematic and scientific study of the day-labor sector and its workforce in the United States. Our findings reveal that the day-labor market is rife with violations of workers’ rights.

The Economic Impact of Wal-Mart: An Assessment of the Wal-Mart Store Proposed for Chicago’s West Side (2004)

  • Report Authors: Chirag Mehta, Ron Baiman & Joe Persky
  • The prospect of the opening of a new Wal-Mart store on the west side of Chicago has raised concerns about its potential impact on existing retailers. This study assesses the likely impact of a new Wal-Mart store on other local retailers and the resulting employment and tax revenue impacts on the City of Chicago and its residents

A County-Level Regional Cost-of-Living Index for Illinois (2004)

  • Report Authors: Ron Baiman & Sarah Beth Coffrey
  • The University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Urban Economic Development (UIC-CUED) has been commissioned by School District 45 of Villa Park, IL to construct an Illinois inter-regional cost-of-living index based on objective and reliable sources. UIC-CUED has no position on how this index can or should be used by School District 45 or any other entities who may wish to use it. However, because we believe that such a tool could be useful in many areas of state and local public policy, and for private sector planning purposes, we have agreed to undertake this project.

Education for All: Chicago’s Undocumented Immigrants and Their Access to Higher Education (2003)

  • Report Authors: Chirag Mehta & Asma Ali
  • The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) recently estimated that approximately 432,000 undocumented immigrants currently reside in Illinois. Many of these immigrants arrive in Illinois as young children and received their schooling in the State. Illinois House Bill 60 (H.B. 60) may increase undocumented students’ access to higher education by directing Illinois public universities to charge in-state tuition rates to immigrant students who meet specific residency criteria. This study, conducted by UIC Center for Urban Economic Development and a network of immigrant rights organizations, assesses the scope of impact of H.B. 60 as well as its fiscal impact.

Persistent Unemployment in Illinois: The Case for Reauthorizing Federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation Benefits (2003)

  • Report Authors: Nik Theodore, Chirag Mehta, Andrew Stettner & Sharon Mastracci
  • Two years of recovery have not helped employment figures, which remain disappointing. This report advocates for the reauthorization of federal temporary extended unemployment compensation benefits.

Social Security Administration’s No-Match Letter Program: Implications for Immigration Enforcement and Workers’ Rights (2003)

  • Report Authors: Chirag Mehta, Nik Theodore & Marielena Hincapié
  • Employer no-match letters inadvertently have become de facto immigration enforcement tools. This study assesses the wide-ranging impacts of SSA’s no-match letter program on local labor markets and immigration enforcement efforts.

Workplace Safety in Atlanta’s Construction Industry: Institutional Failure in Temporary Staffing Arrangements (2003)

  • Report Authors: Chirag Mehta, Sara Baum, Nik Theodore & Lori Bush
  • Data on workplace injuries, safety concerns, and provisions for safety equipment and job training suggest that workers supplied by temporary staffing agencies to building and construction contractors in the Atlanta metro area work in substandard safety conditions. This study examines the working conditions experienced by temp workers supplied by temp agencies to building and construction contractors in the Atlanta metro area and examines factors that influence these conditions.

Raising and Maintaining the Value of the State Minimum Wage: An Economic Impact Study of Illinois (2003)

  • Report Authors: Ron Baiman, Marc Doussard, Sharon Mastracci, Joe Persky & Nik Theodore
  • In this report, we evaluate the probable impact of raising the Illinois minimum wage to $6.50 and maintaining its value through a COLA. Our analysis finds that a $6.50 minimum wage with a COLA would benefit a large number of minimum wage workers and households while imposing minimal costs on employers. Additionally, our research on past minimum wage increases finds that raising the minimum wage has an insignificant impact on employment growth. We conclude that a COLA is essential for maintaining these benefits.

A Step in the Right Direction: An Analysis of Forecasted Costs and Benefits of the Chicago Living Wage Ordinance (2002)

  • Report Authors: Ron Baiman, Joseph Persky & Nicholas Brunick
  • In this report, we begin the process of assessment of the Chicago Living Wage Ordinance by analyzing estimates included in a critical study that predicted dire financial, employment, and economic welfare consequences if the Ordinance were to be passed.

A Self-Sufficiency Living Wage for Chicago (2002)

  • Report Authors: Ron Baiman, Joseph Persky & Patricia Nolan
  • The City of Chicago and State of Illinois have officially endorsed and are using a set of “self- sufficiency standards” for basic family needs by family type that have been developed by Pearson and Brooks (2001) for various localities in Illinois. Based on our conclusions regarding the characteristics of low-income families in Illinois, we derive an estimate of the Chicago “living wage” from this family “self-sufficiency standard” for four-person, two-child families in lower-cost areas of Chicago. We estimate a 2001 “living wage” in Chicago of $11.92/hour. Adjusting this for inflation from December, 2001 to August, 2002 raises this figure to $12.17/hour for a 2002 “living wage.”

Regional Development Strategy for the Northeastern Metro Area (2001)

  • Report Author: Bridget Brown
  • This document is a regional guide towards community and economic development in the Chicago metropolitan area. The goals are focused around developing the capacity of public sector foundations, focusing on the competitive advantage of the market foundations, improving enterprise vitality as well as stability and quality of life.

Living With Welfare Reform (2000)

  • Report Authors: Valerie Walker & Chiraq Mehta
  • In 1998, the statewide coalition Work, Welfare and Families, in partnership with the Chicago Urban League, undertook a study to assess the effects of welfare reform on low-income persons across Illinois. This study suggests that many persons on TANF who have been able to find jobs continue to struggle to provide for the basic needs of their families. This in turn suggests that these and other working poor families may continue to need various forms of assistance in order to complete the transition out of poverty.

A Fair Day’s Pay? Homeless Day Laborers in Chicago (2000)

  • Report Author: Nikolas Theodore
  • This study contains the findings of a survey of 510 homeless men and women. The survey was conducted at four Chicago homeless shelters on a single night in October 1999.Shelter residents were asked a series of questions regarding their experiences working day labor including questions about occupations, wages, and job safety.

Measuring the Performance of Job Trainers Under WIA: Results of a Survey of Chicago Providers (2000)

  • Report Authors: James Lewis & Nikolas Theodore
  • This survey was conducted of Chicago job training providers to gather information about past performance to inform the design of new Workforce Investment Act performance standards and to help guide future data collection efforts. The survey provides information on some of the factors that lead to success in job placement, both in terms of placement rates and average wages at the time of placement.  This issue brief presents the results and key findings of the survey.

Humboldt Park Employment Challenges and Opportunities (1998)

  • Report Authors: William D. Howard
  • This survey of 20 local employers in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood aimed to determine hiring patterns and gather information about their employment needs.

An Evaluation of the Paternal Involvement Demonstration (1996)

  • Report Authors: William D. Howard, Janice Mathews-Rasheed & Joan Fitzgerald
  • This report evaluates the Paternal Involvement Demonstration project, which aimed to demonstrate the value of providing job training, job placement and paternal involvement services to young non-custodial fathers whose children received support from Aid to Families with Dependent Children. It finds that PIDP has been largely successful in meeting its goals.

Employment, Housing, and Anti-Displacement Services in West Town (1995)

  • Report Authors: Antanacio B. Gonzalez & Anne Ray
  • This report summarizes the results of a survey of non-profits serving residents of West Town and other West Side neighborhoods. UICUED was asked to survey these eleven organizations in order to develop an inventory of local groups with community development programs focused on jobs, housing and anti-displacement.

An Analysis of the A.E. Staley/Tate & Lyle Lockout in Decatur, Illinois (1995)

  • Report Authors: David C. Ranney & Paul Schwalb
  • This report examines the Tate & Lyle Ltd takeover of the A.E. Staley corporation and a lockout of its workforce. The analysis is divided into the following parts: a) the global context of the A.E. Staley lockout; b) Tate & Lyle’s history and its policies at A.E. Staley; c) Tate & Lyle’s market position; d) Impact on Staley workers and the people of Decatur.