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Tag Archives: jobs

The Worst Jobs Day Ever

Driven by the COVID-19 shutdown, April marked the greatest job loss in American history. The unemployment rate skyrocketed to 14.7 percent, and employers cut 20.5 million jobs. Those figures are heart-wrenching. But as awful as they are, they do not fully capture workers’ hardships. To be counted as unemployed, people must be available for work and actively seeking it. With schools closed, job opportunities withering, and social distancing the new norm, many displaced workers don’t satisfy...

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What you need to know about Statistics Canada’s survey of the labour market

On Thursday, April 9th Statistics Canada will release the results of the Labour Force Survey for the month of March 2020. COVID19 makes this one of the most scrutinized releases in the 75 year history of the survey, reporting as it will on jobs and unemployment during the week of March 15th to March 21st. Here’s what you need to know, and what to look for. 1. As luck has it, the survey is well timed to capture the start of the economic meltdown The survey is anchored on a...

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How do the party platforms address the changing nature of work, pay, and poverty?

The world of work is changing and creating anxiety about jobs and incomes. There is some overlap on how the major parties contesting the Canadian federal election propose to deal with these challenges, but the Conservatives are definitely the outlier. The Greens score high on vision but low on feasibility,  both the New Democrats and Liberals put a list of reasonable proposals on the table, with the Liberals offering a bigger vision that is also feasible. The Conservatives don’t seem...

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The changing nature of work calls for enhancing the human and financial capital of children in less wealthy families

The Canadian federal government should enhance the human and financial capital of children in less wealthy families, enhance market incomes of lower paid workers, and enhance the security of working incomes by adapting three existing programs to new realities: widening their scope, making them more flexible, and making them easier to obtain. The changing world of work is also a changing world of pay, a world that will likely lean toward greater wage rate inequalities, lower or...

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Do other wage series contradict the where’s-the-wage-response story? Nope.

In a few pieces out this morning, I make some noise about how unresponsive wage growth has been to the tightening job market, using the wage data from the Establishment Survey, which covers the private sector workforce. This is the key figure, showing that while wage growth clearly accelerated from 2 to 2.5% as the job market tightened over the past few years, it has since stalled out. But do other wage and compensation series agree? A lot of people like to cite the Atlanta Fed Wage Tracker....

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Jobs report comes in slightly weaker than expect, but the real problem is slow wage growth

The nation’s payrolls climbed 156,000 last month and the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 4.4 percent, in a slightly weaker-than-expected jobs report. Wage growth is still stuck at an annual growth rate of 2.5%, the length of the average work week ticked down slightly, and payroll gains for June and July were revised down 41,000. (Note: Hurricane Harvey’s impact is NOT present in today’s jobs numbers, as the storm struck well after the survey date. See comments below.) Though the...

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The usually great Catherine Rampell unconvincingly objects to two improved labor standards

I’ve long been a big admirer of Catherine Rampell, but her piece today on “unintended consequences” of pro-worker policies was uncharacteristically unconvincing. She goes after two specific upgrades to existing labor standards: the increase in the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 to $15 per hour, and the increase in the salary threshold below which workers have to be paid time-and-a-half for overtime. Rampell, a data nerd (that’s a big compliment, to be clear), does the same thing...

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The robots aren’t coming. They’re here. And some are helpful.

In a public service to spare you from reading thousands of pages of both anecdote and analyses, here is a quick summary of the debate over whether automation is really killing jobs. Pro: Automation is killing jobs! The robots are coming! Anti: Nuh-uh. If it were, productivity growth, or output per hour of work, would be climbing. Instead, it’s been slowing down…a lot. Pro: Then we must be mis-measuring productivity growth. Anti: Sorry, but solid evidence shows that’s not the case. Not to...

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Jobs day! More solid jobs gains…but wage growth still not responding

The nation’s employment rolls went up 209,000 last month, and the unemployment rate ticked down slightly to 4.3%. The underlying pace of job gains, shown below, suggests a solid, healthy labor market characterized by strong employer demand for workers. That said, wage growth remains remarkably subdued. Taken together, these two facts imply that while we’re closing in on full employment, we’re not there yet. To get at the underlying trend just mentioned, our jobs-day smoother takes some of the...

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A few links: eroding norms and the limits of presidents re the economy

I’ve had a couple of WaPo posts out to which I’ve been meaning to link. This first one, on the warp speed of norm erosion in the Trump era, has the interesting feature that its shelf life was vastly shortened by the Mooch getting the bootch later in the very day I posted. Of course, given that Trump still tops the ticket, I suspect the general thrust of the piece remains valid. Today, I’ve got a post up pushing back on the idea that presidents play an outsized role in economic outcomes,...

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