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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

'How Much Is Job Market Really Improving?'

Ben Casselman at the WSJ:

How Much Is Job Market Really Improving?, by Ben Casselman, WSJ: It’s getting easier for unemployed workers to find jobs. ... But job seekers aren’t seeing their odds improve because employers are stepping up their hiring. ... Hiring actually fell to its lowest level of the year in June, and has been little better than flat over the past two years. ...

Rather, unemployed workers are doing better because there are fewer of them competing for jobs. Layoffs have fallen back to pre-recession levels and are well below the number of hires. So as job seekers find work, they aren’t being replaced on the unemployment rolls by new job losers. ... At the same time, millions of job seekers have stopped looking for work and no longer count as unemployed

Even those lucky enough to find jobs ... aren’t necessarily finding good ones. ... That’s leading to fears that the recovery is creating mainly low-end jobs. ...
The longer-term question is whether good jobs will return when the economy improves. Marisa Di Natale, an economist at Moody’s Analytics, recently looked at hiring after past recessions and found a consistent pattern: Hiring in low-level jobs picked up first, followed by better-paying jobs once the recovery took hold.
“You see almost the same pattern in every recession since the 1980s...,” Ms. Di Natale said. ...
That’s good news for economists worried about the long-run future of American jobs. But it doesn’t do much good for those still waiting for the recovery — now officially in its fifth year — to feel like one.

Perhaps, but the evidence suggests that the hollowing out of the middle class is ongoing, and very real, so the degree to which this pattern will repeat -- low paying jobs first followed by better jobs later -- is open to question.

    Posted by on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 11:52 AM in Economics, Unemployment | Permalink  Comments (18)



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