Disincentives

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Much has been said about an apparent mismatch between unemployment data and the forest of help wanted signs around every corner.  While there are a number of possible explanations, many have suggested that overly generous, no questions asked, unemployment benefits may be, at least, part of the problem. While most of the stimulus disbursements have … Continued

Employees are a Valuable Asset

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That should be obvious.  While current unemployment data is confusing at best, and may be obscuring the probability that the U.S. is looking at a longer term labor shortage, employers should be recognizing the long-term importance of being an employer of choice. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, one of the country’s largest private employers, … Continued

Productivity: The Key To Economic Growth

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Productivity describes various measures of the efficiency of production.  There are many different definitions of productivity.  Perhaps the most common, and probably the easiest to understand, is an aggregate labor productivity measure, such as GDP per worker.  In other words, how much economic benefit is derived from the contribution of each worker. In order for … Continued

Economic Bifurcation

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The U.S. economy appears to be bifurcating at an unprecedented rate.  Unemployment, particularly in the service, retail, live entertainment, hospitality and other sectors is epidemic, while many professionals, able to work at home, are maintaining their income, enjoying a lower cost of living, and for some, significant gains in their corporate stock plans. Pandemic driven … Continued

Business and Market Update – March 27, 2020

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Upcoming data will indicate the sky is falling… We are starting to receive economic data reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on the US economy.  For example, unemployment claims for the week ending 3/20/20 were recently reported and came in at over 3.2 million.  Is the sky falling? It will be difficult to put into context … Continued

Low Unemployment a Plus for the Disabled

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As employers face increasing difficulties in attracting entry-level workers, some companies have been pursuing more constructive strategies for developing opportunities for the disabled. Along with low unemployment levels and a gradual increase in work force participation, the available data indicates that the disabled are now also part of the trend. The average unemployment rate for … Continued

Recruiting in a Strong Economy

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According to recent reports, for the first time since 2005, the U.S. Army missed its recruiting goal for the year, despite increasing its bonus pool by $200 million and approving additional waivers for bad conduct and health issues.  The Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, with much smaller requirements, all met their recruiting goals for … Continued

Is the U.S. Facing a Jobs Crisis?

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Recently reported employment data suggests that there are now as many unfilled job openings (6.55 million), as there are unemployed Americans (6.59 million).  This is the narrowest gap, between available jobs and those seeking jobs, in nearly 20 years of record keeping.  At the same time, workforce participation rates remain near record lows. This is … Continued

Why is Pay Lagging?

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With the unemployment rate at approximately 4%, the lowest since 2000, economists have been surprised by the slow growth in paychecks.  Historically, when that few people are unemployed, companies have had to pay up to attract workers. Clearly, anecdotal evidence and government reports suggest that the U.S. is in a tight job market, yet pay … Continued

Are Real Wages Finally Firming?

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We have previously commented on the issue of lackluster U.S. economic growth.  (See our blog from  Jul-12)  Among the possible causative factors, relatively modest gains for real wages has been highlighted by many economists. We have seen unemployment steadily decline to near record lows.  At the same time, we have not seen much in the … Continued

Lackluster Economic Growth?

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To varying degrees, commentators and economists are suggesting that the U.S. economy seems to be struggling to sustain a growth rate on the order of 2%, while most observers believe that growth on the order of 3% would be highly beneficial and, is also generally considered to be a reasonable target. June unemployment has fallen … Continued

The Skills Shortage

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Currently, U.S. jobs data suggests that overall unemployment is relatively low, underemployment remains an issue, labor force participation is relatively low and there appears to be a significant skills mismatch, which is likely to get worse. Anecdotal evidence suggests that millions of jobs stand empty because employers are unable to fill jobs that are in … Continued