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

March jobs report: surprisingly weak

March jobs report: surprisingly weak HEADLINES: +103,000 jobs added U3 unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1% U6 underemployment rate fell -0.2% from 8.2% to 8.0% Here are the headlines on wages and the chronic heightened underemployment: Wages and participation rates Not in Labor Force, but Want a Job Now: fell -35,000 from 5.131 million to 5.096 […]

A note on personal income and spending

A note on personal income and spending Personal income and spending data from February intimates a weak Q1 GDP report, but doesn’t suggest any imminent downturn. The first graph below compares real personal spending with real retail sales: Real retail sales have pulled back from their autumn surge, and real personal spending has also declined […]

A note of caution about opinion surveys with voluntary associations

A thought for Sunday: a note of caution about opinion surveys with voluntary associations I read a Pew Research study a few days ago with a startling statistic: aside from self-identified Republicans, the single group most strongly approving of Trump was white evangelical Protestants (dark is approval, light is disapproval): This is mind-numbing, especially when […]

I pour some cold water on 2018 midterm overoptimism

 I pour some cold water on 2018 midterm overoptimism In the wake of Conor Lamb’s election victory in Pennsylvania last Tuesday night, some Democratic partisans are suggesting that every GOP-held seat from a district that is less than trump +20% is in play. Hold your horses. The results of last June’s special election in Georgia, […]

JOLTS revisions paint brighter labor market picture

JOLTS revisions paint brighter labor market picture Last Friday’s JOLTS report for January included some important revisions, particularly with regard to hiring.  So let’s take a closer look.As a refresher, unlike the jobs report, which tabulates the net gain or loss of hiring over firing, the JOLTS report breaks the labor market down into openings, […]

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 […]