Gregory DeFreitas is a Professor of Economics and an expert on labor studies. Before joining Hofstra's faculty, he taught at Barnard College, Columbia University, the University of Toronto, and Cambridge University. He was educated at Stanford, Cambridge, and Columbia University, where he received his Ph.D.
Dr. DeFreitas has written widely on job and pay trends, the economics of immigration, earnings inequality, youth unemployment and the New York City economy. And he has testified on these issues before Congressional committees and the New York City Council. He is also the founding editor of the "Regional Labor Review," which focuses on current employment issues in the New York Metropolitan Area.
His book "Inequality At Work" was chosen as one of the year’s Outstanding Social Science Books. He has testified on these issues before Congressional committees and the New York City Council.
Industry Expertise (4)
Writing and Editing
Areas of Expertise (13)
African Economic Development
Economics of Immigration
Economics of Small Business
African Labor Issues
New York City Economy
Member of the Research Advisory Boards of the Economic Policy Institute (Washington D.C.), the Fiscal Policy Institute (NYC), and the Center for the Study of Working Class Life (SUNY Stony Brook). (professional)
His economic consulting services have been used by both government agencies and law firms. He is also a frequent reviewer of articles for economics and labor studies journals and of book manuscripts for several publishers.
Columbia University: Ph.D. 1979
Stanford University: B.A. 1971
- Member of the Research Advisory Boards of the Economic Policy Institute
- Member of the Fiscal Policy Institute
- Member of the Center for the Study of Working Class Life (SUNY Stony Brook)
Media Appearances (13)
New weekly LI jobless claims dip below 10,000 for first time since March
Dr. Gregory DeFreitas, professor of economics and founding director of the Labor Studies degree program, was interviewed by Newsday after Long Island saw a major drop in the number of newly filed unemployment claims. It marked the first time in more than two months that new jobless claims fell below 10,000.
“We look for any glimmers of hope,” Dr. DeFreitas told Newsday. The recent week’s data still showed that there’s “still 10 times as many people receiving unemployment benefits for this time of year than is normal.” Just over 1,500 Long Islander filed unemployment claims during the same time period last year.
Long Island jobless rate soars to 16%, data show
Dr. Gregory DeFreitas, professor of economics, founding director of the Labor Studies degree program, was recently interviewed by Newsday about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on local unemployment numbers and what the rebound might be now that the phased reopening has started.
One of the biggest hurdles for the economy, DeFreitas said, is what will happen to schools and the broader child care industry.
“The fourth phase, of course, is especially important because that includes schools,” he told Newsday. “If you’re a working mom or dad that’s been allowed to go back to work in Phase 2 or 3, whether or not your kid is going to be allowed to go to school during the day is going to be very, very important.”
LI companies cut more than 7,600 jobs as pandemic halts business
Layoffs have skyrocketed on Long Island, as scores of larger Long Island companies have temporarily cut more than 7,600 employees at car dealerships, restaurants, medical offices and other businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 3,600 of the Island’s 108,000 companies have 50 or more employees. All told, they account for about half the private-sector jobs on Long Island, said Gregory DeFreitas, senior labor economics professor at Hofstra University.
A Newsday analysis of staff reduction notices filed with the state demonstrate the virus’s far-reaching impacts. Companies employing 50 or more people — about 4% of the private sector businesses on Long Island — are required to file layoff notices, known as Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN. The notices are posted online daily.
More than 175,000 Long Islanders have filed for unemployment in the past four weeks.
“I think the WARN numbers are undoubtedly underestimates of what’s going on,” said DeFreitas, who is also director of the Center for Labor and Democracy at Hofstra.
More than 175,000 LIers have filed jobless claims in the last 4 weeks
Almost 60,000 Long Islanders filed unemployment insurance claims last week as the coronavirus shutdown continued to spark an unprecedented wave of layoffs across the region and the nation.
On the Island, 59,526 residents filed for unemployment benefits in the week ended April 11, marking a 4,386% increase over the 1,327 claims that were filed the same week a year ago. During the week prior, Long Islanders filed 55,361 claims.
“Long Island is having an unusually high jump in unemployment claims,” Gregory DeFreitas, senior labor economics professor at Hofstra University said Wednesday.
LI hospitals target millennial workers to prepare for aging population
“For millennials on Long Island, a lot of the new jobs are in health care,” Dr. Gregory DeFreitas, professor of economics, said in a recent Newsday article. The report discusses how local health care employers are actively recruiting younger workers. The industry is bracing itself for Long Island’s aging population – which includes its healthcare workers who will need medical attention themselves. The article says currently one fifth of the region’s millennials are working in the health care industry.
Long Island wage increases barely keep ahead of inflation
Last year, metro New York prices rose an average of 2 percent, so the real, after-inflation wage rise was only 0.5 percent in Nassau and 1.4 percent in Suffolk, said economist Gregory DeFreitas, who heads Hofstra University's labor studies program.
"All this needs to be kept in the context of rising price inflation lately that has eaten away most of the purchasing power of the higher pay," he said.
State parks boost Long Island’s economy, report says
Dr. Gregory DeFreitas, professor of economics, founding director of the Labor Studies degree program and director the Center for the Study of Labor and Democracy was interviewed by Newsday about a report that says state parks boost Long Island’s economy. They are good for public health and job generators. Some of the benefits, while they can’t be definitively monetized, are deeply valued by residents. That sense of well-being may be reflected in higher property values and lower crime rates.
Union Membership on LI Still Below Pre-Recession Level
“Union membership on Long Island hasn’t recovered from losses sustained during the Great Recession,” reports Newsday, based on its interview with Dr. Gregory DeFreitas, Hofstra University professor of economics, founding director of the Labor Studies degree program and director the Center for the Study of Labor and Democracy. Dr. DeFreitas and Dr. Bhaswati Sengupta of Iona College have authored a study on union membership, timed for Labor Day.
Still the study reports that New York state is leading the nation in unionization with more than 20 percent of its workforce in unions. The current national average is 10.7 percent. The downstate New York metropolitan area has the highest union membership rate of all the country’s large metro regions. Of its wage and salary employees, 21.4 per cent are in unions – more than twice the national average outside New York.
Job market for Long Island college grads starts to improve
Article on study by Dr. DeFreitas.
Wage gap widens between high school, college grads
Article on study by Dr. DeFreitas.
LI’s college-educated millennials struggling at work: Study
Article on study by Dr. DeFreitas.
$15 minimum wage comes to L.I. . . . in 2021
Long Island Report online
Article with contributions by Dr. DeFreitas.
Health care employment leads Long Island job growth
Dr. Gregory DeFreitas, director of the Center for the Study of Labor and Democracy was interviewed by Newsday for an article, “Healthy Healthy Care,” about continued job growth on Long Island in the health care industry.
Research Focus (1)
Research interests include ...
Economics of immigration, earnings inequality, youth unemployment, economics of small business, labor unions, African labor issues, and the New York City economy
Labor Economics, Urban Economics, Microeconomics, African Economic Development, Research Methods
(BH) LABOR ECONOMICS
(BH) LABOR ECONOMICS
SENIOR SEMINAR IN LABOR STUDIES
New York has, for nearly two decades, had the highest proportion of its workforce represented by unions of
any state in the country. By 2006, the last year before the latest recession, 24.5 per cent of the state’s
employees were union members – twice the national rate. But the national economic crisis that began in 2008
struck with particular force in heavily unionized industries like construction and manufacturing. And many state
and local governments responded to mounting budget gaps by cutting unionized public sector jobs. What have
been the cyclical impacts of the recession and the still-incomplete recovery on union representation? This paper
explores this and related questions by focusing on New York, in particular the state’s economic engine and
population center, the New York City metropolitan area, centered in New York City and Long Island. We
investigate the major characteristics of and trends in recent unionization in the New York Metropolitan Area
through an empirical analysis of large microdata sets from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population
The global economic crisis surged into 2009, setting one depressing record after another. The U.S. economy
shrank by –6.2% in the October-to-December quarter – its steepest decline in over a quarter-century. In those
same months, the country lost 1.7 million jobs. For all of 2008, the job count shrank every month, totaling nearly
3.1 million fewer jobs at year’s end. As of this March, the cumulative losses total 5.1 million jobs, more than in
any other recession since the Great Depression...
Working people with union representation average much higher wages and benefits today than do otherwise
comparable non-union employees. So, in an age of relatively stagnant real wages and eroding benefits for most American workers, union coverage is an important indicator of a region’s labor market health. This report aims
to provide the first detailed description of the major characteristics of and trends in recent unionization in the
New York Metropolitan Area. The empirical analysis was conducted on large microdata sets from the U.S.
Census Bureau’s Current Population Surveys