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Tag Archives: Jobs and Wages

Pandemic-Caused Plunge in Restaurant Jobs Leads to First Job Loss Since April

The pain from the recession is heavily concentrated among the long-term unemployed. The economy lost 140,000 jobs in December, all of which can be attributed to a plunge in restaurant employment of 372,000. Other sectors highly sensitive to the pandemic, such as hotels and recreation, also lost jobs. The unemployment rate and employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) were both unchanged at 6.7 percent and 57.4 percent, respectively. The resurgence of the pandemic further heightened the two-track...

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Economy Adds 245,000 Jobs in November, Unemployment Falls to 6.7 Percent

Contrary to normal patterns, the workweek has actually gotten longer in the pandemic recession.  The rebound slowed sharply in November, with the economy adding just 245,000 jobs. This would ordinarily be a very respectable gain, but with the economy still down almost 10 million jobs from the pre-pandemic level, it is not a pace that gets us back to full employment any time soon. If we need 100,000 jobs a month to keep pace with the growth of the labor market, it would take us more than five...

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Economy Adds 638,000 Jobs in October, Unemployment Falls to 6.9 Percent

The number of multiple job holders stands at 17.8 percent below its year-ago level. The labor market continued to rebound from the spring shutdown, adding 638,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell another percentage point to 6.9 percent. This still leaves the number of jobs 6.6 percent below the February level. The jobs gains were broadly based across sectors. Construction added 84,000 jobs, which is consistent with other data showing a boom in residential construction. Employment in...

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Donald Trump and Being Deplorable

As it increasingly looks like Joe Biden has won the election, I see many people around me appalled that so many of their fellow citizens can vote for someone as racist, sexist, and otherwise offensive as Donald Trump. Given what we know about the guy, and think everyone else should know about him as well, it is hard not to be appalled. But we will not get anywhere politically by looking at half the country with disgust. Trying to win over some of Trump’s voters doesn’t mean giving in to...

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PREVIEW: What the October Jobs Report Will Tell Us

There have been some anomalies in the data that are worth tracking. With the period of rapid recovery from the shutdowns behind us, the labor market is likely looking at a long slog to get back to something resembling full employment. It clearly has lost considerable momentum now that the bulk of the CARES Act money has been spent. Furthermore, the economy will face serious headwinds, as the unchecked spread of the pandemic will lead to more measures curtailing business operations. It will...

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As We Wait to Figure Out Who We Elected, New York Times Feeds Us Pablum on Our Social Problems

In its efforts to provide us exactly what we don’t need now, the New York Times gave us an utterly pointless piece by Yuval Levin telling us that we shouldn’t worry about national politics and instead focus on helping our neighbors and communities. This paragraph tells it all: “More often, though, our deepest problems aren’t really amenable to resolution by a president. These problems have been adding up to something of a social crisis, evident not only in the breakdown of...

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Washington Post Reports on How Top Execs at Bankrupt Companies Get Large Bonuses

The Post had a nice piece reported on how the top executives of major companies that went into bankruptcy were able to get large bonuses. As the piece points out, the bonuses are not tied to performance outcomes, like getting the companies out of bankruptcy in a specific time frame. Of course, ordinary workers at these companies are not so lucky, with many being laid off with little or nothing by way of severance pay. While the piece does not make this point explicitly, these sorts of payouts...

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Jump in Wage Growth Shows Disparate Impact of Layoffs

This recession has been very different from prior recessions. Most prior recessions were caused by the Fed jacking up interest rates to fight inflation, which sinks the housing and auto sectors. The last two recessions were driven by the collapse of bubbles that were driving the economy (stocks and housing). This recession is due to the pandemic, which has whacked personal services that are especially likely to spread the disease, such as restaurants, hotels, and gyms. This has meant that a...

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Economy Adds 661,000 Jobs in September, Unemployment Falls to 7.9 Percent

The large jump in long-term unemployment and people leaving the labor force are ominous signs for the future.  The September employment report showed a sharp slowing in the rate of job growth, with the economy adding 661,000 jobs, less than half of its August rate. The unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points to 7.9 percent, but most of this was due to people leaving the labor force. The employment to population ratio (EPOP) only rose by 0.1 percentage point. At 56.6 percent, it is...

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Your Periodic Reminder that CEOs Maximize CEO Pay, Not Shareholder Returns

It is a cult among policy types to say that CEOs maximize shareholder returns, as in this NYT piece. This is in spite of the fact that returns to shareholders have not been especially good in the last two decades. And, this is even though returns were boosted by a huge corporate tax cut in 2017 that increased after-tax profits by more than 10 percent, other things equal. There is considerable evidence that CEOs do not earn their $20 million pay, in the sense of providing $20 million in...

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