labor demand

The Wage Test

By |2018-08-17T15:32:34+00:00August 17th, 2018|Markets|

In August 2014, then-Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen described the wage dilemma in some detail. She was still relatively new to the job at that time, and there was pressure on her from among the so-called hawks to more aggressively normalize monetary policy. Ben Bernanke had taken the more cautious approach having experienced what both [...]

Proving The ‘L’ In Labor

By |2018-06-06T12:15:56+00:00June 6th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

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 [...]

There Aren’t Two Labor Markets

By |2018-04-13T17:35:50+00:00April 13th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, 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 [...]

More Less Than Nothing, Labor Conditions

By |2017-05-16T17:30:54+00:00May 16th, 2017|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

Despite a lower calculated inflation rate for April 2017, Real Average Weekly Earnings were only just positive for the month year-over-year. As the CPI had moved higher on the base effects of oil prices, real earnings were forced negative in each of the three prior months. The reason is, as always, no acceleration in nominal [...]

A Lot of Noise Where Noise Really Shouldn’t Be

By |2017-04-11T18:27:42+00:00April 11th, 2017|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

Since there isn’t any detectable acceleration in wages or earnings, the plateau across the JOLTS data dating back to various points in 2015 is therefore not likely to be related to the presumed end of labor market slack. Even if the unemployment rate were a valid and relevant interpretation of “full employment”, there would be [...]

Was There Ever A ‘Skills Mismatch’? Notable Differences In Job Openings Suggest No

By |2017-03-16T19:30:11+00:00March 16th, 2017|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

Perhaps the most encouraging data produced by the BLS has been within its JOLTS figures, those of Job Openings. It is one data series that policymakers watch closely and one which they purportedly value more than most. While the unemployment and participation rates can be caught up in structural labor issues (heroin and retirees), Job [...]

Labor Stats Are A Big Problem

By |2017-01-10T19:19:50+00:00January 10th, 2017|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

The updated estimates from the BLS for its JOLTS data largely confirm observations from other labor markets figures. The rate of Job Openings in November 2016 was slightly more than October, but still not appreciably different than what it has been over the past two years. The JOLTS survey indicated Job Openings first reached 5.5 [...]

The JOLTS Phantom: Hires or Job Openings?

By |2016-09-08T19:26:42+00:00September 8th, 2016|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

In all honesty, I could start almost any piece I write with the phrase “economists are stumped.” It has become something of a baseline where there is some element or condition of the global economy that doesn’t make sense to them. The latest update in JOLTS for July continues to be faithful to the seeming [...]