Friday, April 3, 2015

Counting Under-Employment, The Employment Gap Is At 3 Million Jobs

From BloombergView, "Still Missing: At Least 3 Million Jobs" by The Editors:
To gauge the number of jobs still needed to reach full employment, Bloomberg View did its own analysis, borrowing the methods of Blanchflower and Levin to account for all the people expected to rejoin the labor force and switch from part-time to full-time work. As of March, the employment gap came to about 3 million -- a great improvement over a few years ago, but still very far from ideal. Here's how that looks:

US Employment Gap Chart
Source: BloombergView

It's possible, of course, that some of those people have lost the skills and motivation they need to return to the job market. If so, wages should be accelerating as employers compete for a smaller pool of willing and able workers. So far, despite reports that McDonald's and Wal-Mart are boosting pay for some workers, that's not happening. As of March, average hourly earnings stood at $24.86, up just 2.1 percent from a year earlier.

In other words, there's little sign that the Fed's efforts to improve the lot of millions of unemployed and underemployed people are threatening inflation.

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