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Three Key Factors That Will Determine How Long the Hot Job Market Lasts

Originally Published in nytimes.com

Where is this growth really coming from; how real is the concern over inflation; and how many more workers are out there?

The October employment numbers feature everything you might hope for in a jobs report.

Employers keep creating jobs at a healthy clip, 250,000 of them in October, a boom that was apparent in every major sector and that continued unabated even as the American economy inched closer to full employment.

The unemployment rate remained at a multidecade low of 3.7 percent. More notably, the proportion of the population either working or looking for work rose 0.2 percent. The number of adults not in the labor force at all fell by 487,000.

And employers evidently needed to pay higher wages to coax these workers off the sidelines. Long the soft underbelly of this expansion, average hourly earnings are now up 3.1 percent over the last year, from 2.8 percent in the previous reading.

Put it together, and this is the best time for the American labor market in at least 18 years and maybe closer to 50 — though it would be nice to see sustained wage growth substantially higher than inflation, not just in a single month, before making any comparisons to the boom of the late 1960s.

 

 

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