Jared Bernstein joined the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in 2011 as a Senior Fellow. From 2009 to 2011, Bernstein was the Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, Executive Director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class, and a member of President Obama’s economic team.
Bernstein’s areas of expertise include federal and state economic and fiscal policies, income inequality and mobility, trends in employment and earnings, international comparisons, and the analysis of financial and housing markets.
Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Bernstein was a senior economist and the director of the Living Standards Program at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.
Between 1995 and 1996, he held the post of Deputy Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor.
He is the author and coauthor of numerous books for both popular and academic audiences, including Getting Back to Full Employment: A Better Bargain for Working People, Crunch: Why Do I Feel So Squeezed?, nine editions of The State of Working America, and his latest book, The Reconnection Agenda: Reuniting Growth and Prosperity. Bernstein has published extensively in various venues, including the New York Times and Washington Post. He is an on-air commentator for the cable stations CNBC and MSNBC, contributes to the Washington Post’s PostEverything blog, and hosts On The Economy (jaredbernsteinblog.com).
Bernstein holds a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from Columbia University.
As an economist at the left-leaning Washington think tank Economic Policy Institute (EPI) since 1992, Bernstein is loudly pro-union and skeptical of free-trade.
While not much has been reported about Bernstein’s youth, tragedy hit his family at a young age. When he was just seven, his father died. His loss at a young age, he believes made him more aware of those who live with disadvantages, and led him to support unions and workers.
Bernstein moved to New York, and spent many years playing the bass for a jazz band, before deciding to shift into social work and eventually economics.
In 1992, Bernstein joined the liberal EPI as an economist. In 1995, he left the think tank for a brief period to work at the Labor Department as the deputy chief economist under Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich. By 1996 he had returned to EPI, where he wrote two books and co-authored eight editions of the The State of Working America, EPI’s yearly analysis of the U.S. labor market.
Bernstein may have been picked for his job because of his ties to organized labor and his more progressive economic views compared to other Obama economic aides.
On Dec. 5, 2008, Biden named Bernstein to his economic team, saying through a press release that “he’s an acclaimed economist, and a proven, passionate advocate for raising the incomes of middle-class families.”
In 1994, Bernstein and economist Lawrence Mishel authored The State of Working America, which outlined problems of income stagnation and wage disparity. Bernstein and Mishel didn’t agree. While not offering any solutions, the two blamed globalization, a decline in unionism and the fall in the inflation-adjusted minimum wage as the three main factors causing the decline in wages.
Less than a year later, Bernstein published a report claiming African-Americans had fallen behind whites in wages and unemployment rates, but the gap between whites and blacks with a high-school diploma had actually decreased. He pointed out three reasons for this decline in wages: High-paying manufacturing jobs, occupied by a disproportionate number of blacks, were beginning to disappear; blacks had not caught up with whites in obtaining a college education and enforcement of anti-discrimination laws had decreased.