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Tag Archives: employment

Good Payrolls Still Say Slowdown

The payroll report for the month of October 2020 was a very good one. This shouldn’t be surprising, perfect BLS publications appear with regularity even during the most challenging of circumstances. Headlines and underneath, everything looked fine last month. It wasn’t perfect, however, and it’s the same things that leave it short of perfection which are entirely too familiar for this last decade of the occasional perfect payroll publication. Meaning, yes,...

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High-Skilled Immigration and Employment at Multinationals

Britta Glennon reports in an NBER working paper that the two go together. Skilled immigration restrictions may have secondary consequences that have been largely overlooked in the immigration debate: multinational firms faced with visa constraints have an offshoring option, namely, hiring the labor they need at their foreign affiliates. If multinationals use this option, then restrictive migration policies are unlikely to have the desired effects of increasing employment of natives,...

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Reality Beckons: Even Bigger Payroll Gains, Much Less Fuss Over Them

What a difference a month makes. The euphoria clearly fading even as the positive numbers grow bigger still. The era of gigantic pluses is only reaching its prime, which might seem a touch pessimistic given the context. In terms of employment and the labor market, reaction to the Current Employment Situation (CES) report seems to indicate widespread recognition of this situation. And that means how there are actually two labor markets at the moment. Occupying the...

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A Second Against Consumer Credit And Interest ‘Stimulus’

Credit card use entails a degree of risk appreciated at the most basic level. Americans had certainly become more comfortable with debt in all its forms over the many decades since the Great Depression, but the regular employment of revolving credit was perhaps the apex of this transformation. Does any commercial package on TV today not include one or more credit card offers? It certainly remains a staple of junk mail. Leaning more and more on credit cards during the...

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It’s Hard To See Anything But Enormous Long-term Cost

The unemployment rate wins again. In a saner era, back when what was called economic growth was actually economic growth, this primary labor ratio did a commendable job accurately indicating the relative conditions in the labor market. You didn’t go looking for corroboration because it was all around; harmony in numbers for a far more peaceful and serene period. Ever since the Great “Recession”, however, the unemployment rate has really struggled. Nearly the...

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For Labor And Recession, The Bad One

There’s a couple of different ways that Unit Labor Costs can rise. Or even surge. The first is the good way, the one we all want to see because it is consistent with the idea of an economy that is actually booming. If workers have become truly scarce as macro forces sustain actual growth such that all labor market slack is absorbed, then businesses have to compete for them bidding up the price of marginal labor. This is, of course, the exact scenario we’ve been...

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From Friends to Nemeses: JO and Jay

It was one of the first major speeches of his tenure. Speaking to the Economic Club of Chicago in April 2018, newly crowned Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was full of optimism. At that time, however, optimism was being framed as some sort of bad thing. This was the height of inflation hysteria, where any sort of official upgrade to the economic condition was taken as further “hawkishness.” Things were so good, they said, the situation was in danger of...

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Monthly Macro Monitor: Doom & Gloom, Good Grief

When I first got in this business oh so many years ago, my mentor told me that I shouldn’t waste my time worrying about the things everyone else was worrying about. As I’ve related in these missives before, he called those things “well worried”. His point was that once everyone was aware of something it was priced into the market and not worth your time. That has proven to be valuable advice over the years and I think still relevant today. We continue to hear, on an...

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Monthly Macro Monitor: We’re Not There Yet

It’s been a slow turnin’ From the inside out A slow turnin’ But you come about Slow learnin’ But you learn to sway A slow turnin’ baby Not fade away Now I’m in my car I got the radio on I’m yellin’ at the kids in the back ‘Cause they’re bangin’ like Charlie Watts Slow Turning by John Hiatt “How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways”, Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.” The Sun Also Rises, By Ernest...

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Monthly Macro Monitor: Economic Reports

Is recession coming? Well, yeah, of course, it is but whether it is now, six months from now or 2 years from now or even longer is impossible to say right now. Our Jeff Snider has been dutifully documenting all the negativity reflected in the bond and money markets and he is certainly right that things are not moving in the right direction. But moving in the wrong direction, even deeply, as we discovered in 2015/16,...

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