by New Deal democrat
As I described in my detailed post on the April jobs report, below, almost everything moved in the right direction, and significantly so. Let me lay out a few graphs to show the longer-term stronger and weaker points.
In the good news department, the U6 underemployment rate has been falling at a good clip in the last few months, and at 8.6%, is about 0.6% from representing a reasonably “full” employment situation:
What is particularly good news is that both the U3 and U6 un- and under-employment rates are falling, even though people in the prime working age demographic are coming off the sidelines in substantial numbers:
The only other times in the last 30 years there has been a 1%+ increase in prime age labor force participation (red line above) were 1988 and 1995.
This *relatively* stout increase in participation is probably an important reason why nominal YoY wage gains for nonsupervisory workers have stalled:
Finally, we still have about 1 million or more people who aren’t even bothering to look for work, but would like a job now:
This equates to roughly 0.7% of the prime age population.
In sum, we still need to move this +0.7% off the sidelines and into actual employment, and also add another +0.6% or so from underemployment to complete employment before we can say that the the economy is operating at “full employment.” And we are almost 8 years out from the beginning of this expansion, and probably a lot closer to the beginning of the next downturn. This is simply not an economy that in secular terms is working for the average American.