Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Trump Jobs Machine

From The Weekly Standard:
The great American job-creating machine, already in high gear, picked up in May, when the economy added 223,000 jobs—over 50,000 more than experts had predicted. That news took second place to a 7:21 a.m. Trump tweet, “Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning.” In fact, his economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, had called him on Air Force One the evening before to inform him of the blockbuster number. The president’s tweet was a clue that the numbers would be favorable. Advance release, even comment by a member of the executive branch until “at least one hour after the official release time” violates Office of Management and Budget Statistical Policy Directive No.3, which was designed to prevent insider share trading based on this information. “Lock him up,” a laughing Austan Goolsbee, former adviser to Barack Obama, chanted on CNBC.
Policy makers and pundits once waited with bated breath every first Friday of the month to learn whether there were enough jobs for all the men and women in the workforce. Now, with the unemployment rate at 3.8 percent, the lowest in 18 years, we wait to see whether there are enough workers to fill the available jobs.

Which brings us to JOLTS: The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey reports that there are 6.6 million unfilled positions, the highest level since these data have been compiled.Which is why more and more workers are telling their employers to take this job and shove it. The quits rate—the portion of workers willing to quit their jobs in search of better ones—stood at only 1.3 percent during the recent recession. It now stands at 2.3 percent, a record high.

In short, America has a labor shortage. One property developer tells me he could build and sell more homes if he could find skilled roofers. A garden designer complained to me that she can’t find laborers. Trucking companies have rigs sitting idle for lack of drivers. City councils are offering bonuses to workers who relocate to their towns—persuade a friend to join you at your workplace and earn a bonus.

It is of course true that there remain what Ed Lazear, chairman of George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, estimates to be 1 million potential workers who remain outside the labor market. They might be persuaded to seek work if wages rise further or eligibility for entitlements is tightened. But for now, they are not answering employers’ call.

The economy seems to be as strong as the jobs market. Predictions vary, but all agree that the 2.2 percent GDP growth rate in the first quarter of the year was likely due to some reporting anomaly that has produced low estimates for that time of year. Analysts at Lazard Asset Management say the economy “is well positioned for further growth.” The non-profit Conference Board expects the economy to grow at an annual rate of 3.1 percent this quarter, and Macroeconomic Advisers is even cheerier, putting its bets on 3.6 percent. The OECD expects growth for the year as a whole to come in at “about 3 percent.” (Read more.)

1 comment:

julygirl said...

....and Obama is taking credit for all this.