A Tight Labor Market

Kevin Drum notes that the 4 week average ratio of new unemployment insurance claims to employment is the lowest ever recorded

He wonders if it has anything to do with tighter standards for receiving unemployment insurance. I think it is just that the labor market is authentically tight. The Job vacancy rate is roughly tied for the highest on record (within 0.2%). The record only goes back to December 2000 but that was during the late 90s boom before the 2001 mini-recession.


Other indicators aren’t so strong — there are still a lot of long term unemployed and involuntary part time workers and hiring is not back up to the all time peak. Still I think the explanation is mainly just that the labor market is tight.