Due to the progression of the economic recovery and a modest improvement in the unemployment rate, members of the Class of 2015 currently have better job prospects than the classes of 2009–2014. However, the Class of 2015 still faces real economic challenges, as evidenced by elevated levels of unemployment and underemployment, and a large share of graduates who still remain “idled” by the economy.
That the poverty rate has remained stubbornly elevated over the last three-and-a-half decades is simply a symptom of an increasingly unequal economy, marked by nearly stagnant hourly wages for the vast majority of the American workforce.
Applying EPI's family budget thresholds to Census Bureau data on Denver shows that many—indeed, more than 40 percent—of the region’s residents are struggling to achieve economic security. As policymakers in Denver consider measures to raise incomes for area residents, they should be fully aware of just how far many in the community are from this benchmark.
Despite what some policymakers and pundits might have us believe, a significant share of the poor work. This means that policies that boost employment and wages are important and underappreciated tools for reducing poverty.
Nominal wage growth’s failure to significantly increase over the last several months (and years) is evidence enough that there’s sufficient labor market slack to convince the Federal Reserve to keep its foot off the economic brakes and not increase short-term interest rates.
This morning’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report rounds out the employment situation for March. Last week, we saw substantial downward revisions to payroll employment, revisions that exposed one of the slowest job gains in recent years.
When the latest jobs report comes out this Friday, we’ll be watching to see if the recent slowdown in job creation is just a blip or if it's a new trend.
Over the last year, and, in fact, over the last five years, nominal wage growth has been slow—slow by historic standards and slow relative to wage growth that would be consistent with the Fed’s 2 percent overall price inflation target.
Wages in "right-to-work" (RTW) states are 3.1 percent lower than those in non-RTW states, after controlling for a full complement of individual demographic and socioeconomic factors as well as state macroeconomic indicators. This translates into RTW being associated with $1,558 lower annual wages for a typical full-time, full-year worker.
The main problem in the labor market is a broad-based lack of demand for workers—not available workers lacking the skills needed for the sectors with job openings.
The hires, quits, and layoffs rates all held fairly steady in the February Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report.
The employment situation for March showed downward revisions to payroll employment in both January and February and a considerably slower growth in jobs in March.
As I wrote earlier today, while it may be too soon to sound the alarm, this morning’s Employment Situation Report should give us pause.
Hardcore fans of EPI’s labor market indicators will notice a change today. Our estimate of the number of “missing workers”—potential workers who are no longer classified as in the labor force but who will likely be working or looking for work if the labor market improvement continues—has been revised.
The recent budget negotiations in Congress are a reminder that policymakers can actively slow (or if they choose, speed up) recovery by depressing (or increasing) demand.
It’s too soon to sound the alarm, but this morning’s Employment Situation Report report should give us pause. 126,000 jobs created in March and the downward revision of 38,000 jobs in February, together make for disappointing top line numbers.
As another Jobs Day approaches, there are a few things I’ll be thinking about and watching for: the top line payroll employment numbers and whether the February number will get revised downward (because of the weather); the effect that proposed budget cuts could have (and the harmful effects that austerity has had so far on the economic recovery); whether more people enter the labor force in March as job opportunities appear to be on the horizon and what that does to our missing workers number (and the official unemployment rate); and, of course, what’s happening with nominal wages (and the patience of the Fed).
This post originally appeared in the New York Times Room for Debate forum on March 12, 2015.
“Right-to-work” laws deny unions the money they need to help employees bargain with their employers for better wages, benefits and working conditions.
More than half of Los Angeles families do not earn enough income to attain the modest but secure standard of living defined by EPI’s Family Budget Calculator.
The good news is that we are finally seeing some decent jobs growth with 295,000 jobs added in February. But it’s clear that there’s still a tremendous amount of slack in the labor market.
One of the recurring myths following the Great Recession has been that recovery in the labor market has lagged because workers don’t have the right skills.
The hires, quits, and layoffs rates all held fairly steady in the January Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). As you can see in the figure below, layoffs shot up during the recession but recovered quickly and have been at prerecession levels for more than three years.
While the U.S. economy has been solidly adding jobs for many months now, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) released today is another indicator of how much slack still remains in the labor market.
Solid job growth but sluggish wage growth has been a constant refrain over the last few months. We’ve finally seen 12 consecutive months of job growth above 200,000, but wage growth shows little sign of accelerating.
The good news is, today’s jobs report was positive overall. February’s gain of 295,000 jobs continues a favorable trend. At this rate, economy will return to pre-recession labor market health in about two years.
Today’s jobs report showed the economy added a solid 295,000 jobs in February—marking the twelfth straight month that job growth has been more than 200,000.
When the February Employment Situation report is released tomorrow, I will be looking at three particular numbers: nominal wage growth, labor force participation, and the unemployment rate.
About 93 percent of University of California administrative support workers—10,620 people—would not earn enough from their wages, even if they worked full time, to meet or exceed their metropolitan area’s basic family budget for a prototypical family with one adult and one child.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released Real Earnings for January 2015 today, which lets us look at trends in real (inflation adjusted) wages over the month and year.
Yesterday, I released a report that looked at the most recent reliable data on Americans’ wages—by decile and by educational attainment, through 2014.