201806.06 5

Proving The ‘L’ In Labor

Back in 2011 and 2012, apple growers in the state of Washington got the government there to declare an emergency. They were expecting a record or near-record crop of fruit but they just couldn’t find enough workers to harvest it all. Faced with a potentially devastating labor shortage, Washington’s governor turned to convicts. I wrote…

201804.13
4
8

There Aren’t Two Labor Markets

Allusions to a labor shortage continue to be ubiquitous. Two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal published yet another such story under the headline Iowa’s Employment Problem: Too Many Jobs, Not Enough People. Ostensibly about the experiences of companies trying to hire in the one state, the implication was clear enough. If Iowa, IOWA, has…

201803.20
1
5

Choosing the Right Curves

The background for inflation hysteria was pretty simple. Globally synchronized growth meant acceleration in the US economy which would raise demand for labor. The unemployment rate, faulty as it has been, suggests that any further increase in labor utilization would just have to pressure wages – the competition for workers rises as the marginal supply…

201801.10
3
2

Which One Really Belonged On Yellen’s Dashboard?

The latest JOLTS survey from the BLS suggests nothing much has changed from that particular view of the labor market. The level of estimated Job Openings (JO) while down slightly over the last few months remains exceedingly high. By contrast, the rate of monthly Hires (HI) continues to be subdued, if at the high end…

201712.11
2
2

Severe Jolt In JOLTS

The biggest proponents of the BLS data have been FOMC policymakers. Right from the taper tantrum of 2013, the unemployment rate has given them, and the Economists who depend on their views for crafting their own, an almost definitive set of parameters for interpreting all other economic statistics. Everything is immediately filtered through the lens…

201709.12
2
5

The JOLTS of Drugs

Princeton University economist Alan Krueger recently published and presented his paper for Brookings on the opioid crisis and its genesis. Having been declared a national emergency, there are as many economic as well as health issues related to the tragedy. Economists especially those at the Federal Reserve are keen to see this drug abuse as socio-demographic…

201708.08
2
3

Settling the State of Labor

The JOLTS report for June 2017 showed another surge in Job Openings. Hitting a record high, the BLS estimates there were nearly 6.2 million, up sharply from 5.7 million in May. As many in the media like to point out, Janet Yellen has declared Job Openings a favored economic statistics purportedly as a gauge of…

201706.06
2
2

Forced Finally To A Binary Labor Interpretation

JOLTS figures for the month of April 2017, released today, highlight what is in the end likely to be a more positive outcome for them. It has very little to do with the economy itself, as what we are witnessing is the culmination of extreme positions that have been made and estimated going all the…

201704.25
2
1

Defining Labor Economics

Economics is a pretty simple framework of understanding, at least in the small “e” sense. The big problem with Economics, capital “E”, is that the study is dedicated to other things beyond the economy. In the 21st century, it has become almost exclusive to those extraneous errands. It has morphed into a discipline dedicated to…

201702.07
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2

Solutions Require Good Data

There were no surprises in the updated JOLTS estimates for December 2016, just more of the same sideways. The level of Job Openings was 5.501 million (SA), practically unchanged from November’s 5.505 million. The BLS estimates that Job Openings have been stuck at around that level since April 2015. In terms of Hires, that series,…