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Joseph Hight, economist-writer-blogger

Joseph Hight, creator and writer of this blog, studied Economics at the University of New Hampshire and Brown University.

​Joe is a professional economist, but the intent here is to write on economic policy and current affairs for a general audience and not necessarily for his professional economic colleagues. He will attempt to avoid economic jargon, and write in plain words.

​Joe's father worked in a steel mill, and Joe followed his father into the mill where he worked as a catcher in the rolling mill. That was 1959. Unions were strong and union wages at the mill allowed a good living for Joe's father to support his family of six children. But the aftermath of the Eisenhower recession of 1958 caused layoffs at the mill in 1960. Joe was laid off and decided to pursue a college education. He went all the way to a PhD in economics at Brown.

When Joe entered UNH as a freshman, he had no idea what economics was all about. He was soon to find out in his Economics 101 class with the late Professor Ruth Woodruff. When Joe told Woodruff that the mill produced rolling steel stock in three eight hour shifts, 24 hours a day, Woodruff explained it was an example of full employment of the steel mill's capital. Joe replied, "And wasn't using three shifts of labor the full employment of labor?" He was on his way to becoming an economist.

 

As a teaching associate at Brown, Joe taught a semester of Economics 101 while developing his PhD thesis on the supply and demand of enrollments in colleges and universities. Joe's background as a steel worker and a steelworker's son naturally guided him into work and study of Labor Economics and eventually he ended up in a career as a staff economist at the United States Department of Labor in Washington, DC.

 

Along the way, Joe taught the principles of economics course for a year at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI, and for four years he taught Labor Economics and Money and Banking at the University of Hawaii. Joe was an economic policy fellow for a year at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, which led to a position as an economist in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Labor where he spent a 25 year career working on program evaluation and policy development. He worked on unemployment compensation, trade adjustment assistance for trade impacted workers, job training programs for unemployed and displaced workers, employment and unemployment statistics,  and Social Security. In 1978-79 Joe was a staff economist for the National Commission on Employment and Unemployment Statistics where he specialized in state and local area employment statistics. Joe served a stint as adviser to Secretary of Labor Robert Reich in the Secretary of Labor's role as a trustee on the Social Security Board of Trustees. For 10 years Joe taught economics to master degree students as an adjunct Associate Professor at the George Washington University.