Lawrence Mishel, a nationally recognized economist, is the president of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Since joining EPI in 1987 as its first research director, he has played a significant role in building the institute into the nations premier research organization focused on U.S. living standards and labor markets. He has researched, written, and spoken widely on the economy and economic policy as it affects middle- and low-income families. Mishel is the principal author of The State of Working America (published every two years since 1988), a major research volume which the former U.S. labor secretary Robert Reich says remains unrivaled as the most-trusted source for a comprehensive understanding of how working Americans and their families are faring in todays economy. Earlier in his career, Mishel served as an economist for several unions, including the Auto Workers, Steelworkers, AFSCME, and the Industrial Union Department, AFL-CIO.