The family, job, and shopping pressures that mark the holiday season underline the recent findings by New York University sociologist Kathleen Gerson, whose new article in the journal Contexts reports that the ability to balance work and family remains elusive to many U.S. workers. The study was released prior to the start of President Bush’s two-day economic initiatives conference, which began today, Dec. 15, in Washington, D.C.

Analyzing U.S. Census and national survey data, the article, co-authored with Jerry Jacobs at the University of Pennsylvania, reveals a growing split of the labor force into those squeezed by family and work time demands, usually at the top end of the pay scale, and those unable to find sufficient amounts of work, usually at the bottom of the pay scale. Whether they are working too much or too little, most Americans would prefer a better balance between family and work than the one they now have.

Reporters interested in speaking with Professor Gerson should contact James Devitt, Office of Public Affairs, at 212.998.6808 or

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