US Labor Market Remains Hopelessly Distorted, Data Shows

US Labor Market Remains Hopelessly Distorted, Data Shows

US job openings were lower on the last business day of May, closely-watched data out Wednesday showed. But at 11.3 million, the headline JOLTS print easily exceeded estimates. April's headline was revised markedly higher, to 11.7 million from 11.4 million. At 6.489 million, hires were little changed. In fact, they fell to the lowest since January, leaving the "gap" near record wides (figure below). Hires for April were revised lower. The figures suggested little, if any, progress on the roa
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5 thoughts on “US Labor Market Remains Hopelessly Distorted, Data Shows

  1. Again, how many of these are actually part time when you lift the lid? And how many of the others have been posted for many months, advertising jobs that have so many skills and experience requirements that they well know will never be filled? At least not at the compensation being offered.

    Just curious now that JOLs has become the most important economic indicator.

  2. Service industry jobs are more susceptible to being automated than other types of jobs.
    Where I am traveling, I see more and more automation when I dine out compared to the “norm” in the USA. Reducing just a few employees at a restaurant can be the difference between unprofitable and profitable.

  3. Well put. A lot of white collar workers have been using the job switching to get higher wages for the last decade. I presume that recently the hourly wagers can more easily implement this strategy.

  4. JOLTS data is from two months ago. I looked at some more timely data (one of the “high frequency” data services). Notable weakening in tech industry. In other industries, no discernible weakening but sometimes a flattening out (i.e. job market very tight but not getting any tighter). Consistent with anecdotals we discussed in a previous post. Worker mood (fear of job loss) worse in high income group (that’s tech industry effect) than in low. No improvement in labor participation.

    I’ve said this before, but for all the economic negatives, in many ways the funhouse labor market is a huge positive.

    People can get jobs, are paid better, have more job security, can unionize, can move up, and for the first time in ages that applies to the lowest income.

    Investors worry about business’ wage costs and margin pressures, but that also contains good news for the formerly minimum wage worker whose hourly pay has increased 30%, older person who is getting hired despite being “old and slow”, young person who can get that first job and then get raises/promotions earlier than before.

    Yes, inflation is making real wage growth negative at the moment, but wages are sticky while prices can decline. Having wages is better than not, -5% real wage growth is better than -100%, and the +100% real wage of getting employed is best of all.

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