Labor Day Weekend Recruitment Scheme
So, it was just Labor Day weekend, and while we should all be out without work, I spent part of the long weekend thinking about a few of my favorite FRED charts.
instead of including them All Of my favorites, I set a challenge for myself: limit the list to the three most indicative diagrams:
Unemployment rate U3: When was unemployment lower than it is today? It rarely happens, but there are 3 definite eras: After the long and slow recovery after the GFC, just before the pandemic, January 2020 U3 was at 3.5%; Before that you have to go back over a century to October 1968 to May 1969 when the unemployment rate was at 3.4%; Before that, it was shortly after World War II, in 1952-53, when unemployment was below 3% (!) to its lowest level in June 1953 at 2.5%.
Employment Opportunities: Total Nonfarm Jobs: Consider how many jobs are still vacant today and you have a sense of many other issues in this economy: supply chain faltering, leading to commodity shortages, causing inflation, etc. The good news is that this post-pandemic rise appears to be very anomalous and (hopefully) temporary. To fix this is simple but not easy: more immigration, COLA minimum wage, etc.
wages (relative to inflation)Wages have generally not kept pace with inflation over the past 50 years. (This is especially true for the lower half of income earners.) The chart below shows the areas where inflation is higher than wages, meaning that workers’ salaries lag behind their living expenses. To make matters worse, most of the time when inflation is below hourly wages, it is due to stagnation along with sharp increases in unemployment. (For wages alone without the CPI, see this FRED chart.)
I find it difficult to find three other charts that are not only useful for the labor market but also very informative about the entire current economy.
Any suggestions? Share it here.
The Great Resignation Period (July 27, 2022) has ended.
$1.395 trillion, peak unemployment insurance (March 4, 2022)
Elvis (your waitress) left the building (July 9, 2021)
wages in america