What Drives Hiring Uncertainty?

Despite one of the longest recoveries in recent US history, hiring remains subdued and the unemployment rate decreases mainly as a result of falling labour force participation. Other advanced economies face similar difficulties, even though their recovery has been less dynamic. Currently more than 8.3% of workers are out of a job in advanced economies, […]

Jobless Claims Fall to 7-Year Low as Industrial Production Unexpectedly Declines

Today’s reports on jobless claims and industrial production offer a mixed review for the macro outlook. On the one hand, the sharp decline in new filings for unemployment benefits to a seven-year low is a powerful signal for expecting continued growth in the labor market for the near term. But the surprisingly big slump in industrial output last month […]

How to Fill the Skills Gap: Bring Back Apprenticeships

by Robert Maxim, research associate, competitiveness and foreign policy, for the Council on Foreign Relations studies program Manufacturing is growing in the United States, but many companies claim that they face a “skills gap.” These companies have unfilled vacancies, but say that unemployed workers and recent high school graduates do not have the technical knowledge […]

Fed Watch: Difficult Labor Report

The headlines numbers from the April employment report are at first blush a challenge to the Fed’s low rate commitment.  One doesn’t have to dig much deeper into the data, however, to see that the near term implications are minimal as the Fed maintains its strong focus on measures of labor market slack.  Still, the […]

Is the Fed Near Its Target?

The BLS reported on Friday that the U.S. unemployment rate fell all the way to 6.3% in April. That marks significant progress in terms of thebull’s eye of Fed accountability proposed by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans which Econbrowser discussed 2 months ago. The unemployment rate has dropped steadily over the last 4 years with no […]

Skill Mismatches in the U.S. Labor Market

The slow recovery in the United States from the Great Recession has been characterized by an unusually high unemployment rate. Observers have disagreed about the relative importance of skill mismatch and insufficient aggregate demand as causes of high unemployment. The two explanations are not mutually exclusive, but Paul Krugman (2014) has taken a strong position […]

U.S.: Manufacturing Employment Signals Economic Growth

It’s widely recognized that the manufacturing sector is highly sensitive to the business cycle. Employment trends in this corner tend to react earlier to macro distress compared with payrolls generally. As a result, monitoring this slice of the labor market offers a valuable benchmark for evaluating the macro trend. The good news is that these […]

The Great U-Turn

Do you recall a time in America when the income of a single school teacher or baker or salesman or mechanic was enough to buy a home, have two cars, and raise a family? I remember. My father (who just celebrated his 100th birthday) earned enough for the rest of us to live comfortably. We […]

Great Graphics: Capital Gets Organized, But Not Labor

It should have been a lay-up. United Auto Workers were trying to unionize a Volkswagen plan in Chattanooga, Tennessee and they did not face management hostility. Far from it. Volkswagen wanted the union to facility worker councils that are used throughout the company’s factories to ostensibly help productivity and morale. Volkswagen even let the union […]