Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Prime age labor force participation: disability and homemaking decline

Prime age labor force participation: disability and homemaking decline About a year ago I wrote a series of posts on various reasons for the relatively low labor force participation by prime age individuals, and its effect on wages; In my post summing up that study I wrote: A major element of the participation rate is comparison with […]

February update: real wages and real spending

by New Deal democrat February update: real wages and real spending Now that we have February inflation, let’s take an updated look at real wages and real spending. First of all, real average hourly wages increased slightly in February, but are still -0.6% under their July peak: But, because the total hours worked surged so […]

Labor force participation, unemployment, and wages: an update

Labor force participation, unemployment, and wages: an update About a year ago I wrote a series of posts on the relationship between the unemployment rate, labor force participation, and wage growth. Especially in view of last Friday’s jobs report, which showed blockbuster hiring, but a continuation of tepid wage growth over 8 years into the […]

Interest rates and jobs: a variation on the model

Interest rates and jobs: a variation on the model Friday is nonfarm payrolls day, so in the absence more noteworthy economic news, let me follow up on Monday’s post in which I discussed “A simple model of interest rates and the jobs market.” In it, I suggested that: 1. a YoY increase in the Fed funds […]

Great news on job security, but on income line workers can hold back on breaking out the champagne

Great news on job security, but on income line workers can hold back on breaking out the champagne Some really good news this morning, but a note to hold your horses on the celebration of at least one aspect of that news. Initial jobless claims, which I’ve called the single most positive data point in […]

China, not automation, is by far the biggest factor in the decline of prime age labor force participation

China, not automation, is by far the biggest factor in the decline of prime age labor force participation Perhaps the biggest mystery in economic analysis in the last few years has been trying to find an explanation for the big decline in labor force participation since 1999.  A recent NBER working paper by Abraham and Kearney has […]

Memo to younger readers: in an era of rising interest rates, deficits DO matter very much

Memo to younger readers: in an era of rising interest rates, deficits DO matter very much If you are under about 45 years of age, the odds are that you agree with one statement made by Dick Cheney: that “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.” As I mention from time to time, I am a […]

Initial jobless claims: the single most positive aspect of the entire economy

Initial jobless claims: the single most positive aspect of the entire economy I haven’t been bothering to comment on initial jobless claims reports lately, for the simple fact that every week it’s the same story:  they’re good! In fact, the initial jobless claims reports are probably the single most positive aspect of the entire economic […]