Consumers Invest in Themselves Through Savings

Consumers have experienced paltry progress in middle class incomes during the period of 2007 through today, and some say that stagnation has persisted for decades.  Income stagnation has been ascribed to disappointing labor productivity and to high unemployment that became nearly full employment, which too often pays just subsistence wages.  Many job openings remain unfilled […]

Productivity and Wage Stagnation

Annual wage growth has been an anemic half of one percent for American employees in the period 2007 to 2015.  In that same period, labor productivity crawled at a 1.2% pace, down from the more typical 2.6% pace during 2000 to 2007.  Wage stagnation was more intense for those in the middle income strata.  Over […]

Labor Day: Who Actually Pulls the Communal Cart?

Each Labor Day is marked by parades, picnics, ball games, barbecues for family and friends, and perhaps fireworks.   In between these colorful spectacles, a few with a taste for history might steer the conversation toward thanking labor unions for their early role in improving working conditions. Today’s heroes – those who fund national defense and […]

When Creative Destruction Strikes Near Home

Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports on new jobs, unemployment and other measures about the labor force.  At least 200,000 new jobs per month are needed to keep pace with labor force growth.  But that paints an incomplete picture.  The quality of jobs created and lost each month matters a lot.  Well-paying […]

What’s Behind Declining Labor Force Participation?

Since employment declined dramatically in 2008, there has been acute interest in the so-called labor force “participation rate.” When employment began climbing out of the Great Recession trough in 2010, that progress seemed to be sabotaged by troubling decreases in the rate. Many questioned aloud why American workers were leaving the labor force. A cluster […]

Consumers Still Glum Despite Job Growth

Consumer attitudes toward the U.S. economy and their place in it track many factors, but the behavior of prices and the jobs picture have oversized influence.  Consumer attitudes help guide changes in their spending, and consumer spending accounts for 70% of GDP.  The continued slump in housing prices, the loss of high paying jobs, and […]

Training to Adapt

May 2012’s 8.2% unemployment rate dampens hopes for the 14 million US consumers looking for work.  Some jobseekers are new to the marketplace, some are there due to decreases in sales, and some are displaced by offshoring-outsourcing or technological changes.  Retraining may lead to employment for some, but efficacy for displaced workers looks poor, so […]

Job Picture from Bad to Worse

The nation’s unemployment rates increased slightly from 8.1 to 8.2%, nearly one-half million workers left the job market, the only 69,000 jobs were added in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  This is the second lowest increase in employment since the market rebounded into positive job growth.  To read the BLS’ employment situation report, visit […]