Monday , September 21 2020
Home / Tag Archives: New Posts

Tag Archives: New Posts

Unemployment down but so is pace of job gains

Payrolls were up 1.4 million in August and the unemployment rate fell sharply from 10.2 to 8.4 percent according to this morning’s labor market update from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Payrolls remain 11.5 million below their pre-pandemic peak in February and the jobless rate is still more than twice its February rate of 3.5 percent. In years that ends in a zero, the federal government temporarily hires many workers to field the decennial Census. It is thus important to look at private...

Read More »

July jobs: Labor market keeps ticking, but virus surge is slowing pace of gains

The labor market kept ticking in July, but the re-surging pandemic led to slower hiring across most industries. Payrolls rose 1.8 million last month, compared to average monthly gains of 3.8 million in May and June, and payrolls remain 12.9 million jobs down from their February peak (see figure). The jobless rate ticked down to 10.2 percent, but remains highly elevated–that’s still higher than the peak of the last recession–and the share of the prime-age (25-54) population working remains...

Read More »

A strong jobs report but big holes remain and we’re not outta the viral woods.

Payrolls popped up by 4.8 million in June, as commerce continued to gradually reopen across the country. Most industries (75 percent) added jobs, and millions of furloughed workers were called back, taking the unemployment down to 11.1 percent from 13.3 percent in May. The strong report begs the question: are we out of the virus-infected woods? Has the pandemic-induced recession ended as we enter a strong bounce-back to a solid expansion? The answer is as best uncertain and, based on recent...

Read More »

Hey, Senators! The case for extending Unemployment Insurance benefits is air tight.

There’s new information out this morning that should be a critical input into ongoing negotiations in the U.S. Senate. Senators are debating whether the economy needs another relief package, and, if so, what should be in it, and this morning’s income report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis is virtually yelling what the answer should be. The report shows that aggregate income—all the wages and profits and interest payments, etc. that go to U.S. households—fell by a large, but expected, 4...

Read More »

Figures behind our “targeting the Black rate” essay

Janelle Jones and I have a new piece coming out wherein we explain why and how the Federal Reserve should target the Black unemployment rate in setting monetary policy. The first figure to which we refer is the share of quarters since 1972 (when the Black jobless rate data start) that the unemployment rate for different racial groups has been below CBOs estimate of the “natural rate.” Whites enjoyed full employment labor markets almost 60% of that time. The Black rate, conversely, has never...

Read More »

Surprise! One report does not a new trend make but reopening may be occurring sooner than expected.

Before even getting to the facts of the case on today’s very surprising jobs report, let me share a few insights. –One jobs report does not a new trend make. –Keynes was right. –Economists are terrible at catching turning points. –Don’t ignore levels for trends. In one of the more surprising jobs reports I’ve seen, payrolls rose–as in, went up!–last month by 2.5 million and the unemployment rate fell from just below 15 percent to 13.3 percent (though, as I’ll show, racial disparities may be...

Read More »

The US job market catches the virus and crashes.

Due to the shutting down of the American economy to control the spread of the coronavirus, the bottom fell out of the job market last month. I’ve been writing up monthly jobs reports for decades, and I’ve never seen anything remotely close to this. Employment gains that were made over almost a decade vaporized in two months. Payrolls collapsed by 20.5 million in April, by far the worst month on record for a data series that begins in 1939. Combining March’s losses of 870,000, revised from...

Read More »

At some point, a lot of economically vulnerable people will need to get back to work.

Yesterday, we learn the economy contracted in the last quarter at the fastest rate since 2008, when we were in what used to be called the Great Recession. As this decline captured only a tiny share of the time we’ve been in shutdown, it’s the tip of the iceberg that’s sitting atop an economy still in deep freeze. This morning, we learned that another 3.8 million people filed claims for Unemployment Insurance. That’s 30 million claims, which are a fair proxy for layoffs, in six weeks. In a...

Read More »

The tip of the wave: Jobs report shows large losses, but predates the worst of it

Payrolls fell by 701,000 in March, their first monthly decline in almost 10 years, and the jobless rate ticked up to 4.4 percent (from 3.5) as the coronavirus and efforts to contain it pounded the U.S. labor market last month. Because of the timing in the surveys in this report, it only picks up the front end of tsunami of layoffs that occurred in the second half of March, when initial claims for Unemployment Insurance rose by almost 10 million, an increase most economists would have...

Read More »

A wounded Trump is an especially dangerous Trump: Thoughts on his proposed economic pivot.

When I first heard that Trump and some other conservatives were making the case for punting on containment of the virus in the interest of reflating the economy, I ignored it because it made no sense to me. It still doesn’t, but from what I’m seeing, the idea seems potentially serious enough to warrant a response. There are at least three reasons this pivot idea is nonsensical. First, Trump may admire and aspire to emulate authoritarian leaders, but he has no such powers. He did not close my...

Read More »