Laura J. Hales

Agricultural Economist


Laura J. Hales is an agricultural economist in the Food Assistance Branch in the Food Economics Division. Her research focuses on the measurement of food insecurity in the United States.


Laura joined the Economic Research Service (ERS) in April 2021. She previously worked as a research analyst at the Kansas Department of Labor where she examined the costs of workplace injuries to Kansas industries, as well as how both employers and employees utilize workers’ compensation insurance to mitigate those costs. Her work at ERS focuses on monitoring annual trends in food insecurity and research to understand determinants of food insecurity, including how participation in nutrition assistance programs affects food insecurity.


Laura holds an M.A. in Economics from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. She received a B.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Brigham Young University.