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…

201803.27
3
4

Bi-Weekly Economic Review: Embrace The Uncertainty

There’s something happening here What it is ain’t exactly clear There’s a man with a gun over there Telling me I got to beware I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound Everybody look what’s going down There’s battle lines being drawn Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong Young people speaking their minds Getting…

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…

201802.06
6
2

Welcome Jay Powell, The Circular Hawk

Jerome “Jay” Powell was added to the Federal Reserve Board in May 2012. Quite an auspicious time to be thrown into things, Powell had avoided the “unexpected” liquidity crisis of 2011 but he did have to deal with its aftermath. By September of 2012, the Federal Reserve was once again debating yet more QE; a…

201801.15
2
1

Bi-Weekly Economic Review: A Weak Dollar Stirs A Toxic Stew

Economic Reports Employment We received several employment related reports in the first two weeks of the year. The rate of growth in employment has been slowing for some time – slowly – and these reports continue that trend. The JOLTS report showed a drop in job openings, hires and quits. The Fed has been talking…

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…

201711.07
7
5

Everything Now On Slack

The whole thing really does unravel at the unemployment rate. If it indicates the correct view of the economy, even close to “full employment”, then what follows is fairly typical and orthodox stuff. In the context of what the Fed is doing, short-term rate hikes are leading the longer end of the yield curve toward…

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…