Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.
May 3, 2013 at 10:08 AM
Vote: How’s hiring at your workplace?
Job growth picked up in April, with the economy adding 165,000 new jobs. Still, the unemployment rate barely budged downward and the length of the average workweek actually declined from 34.6 to 34.4. (Here’s the report in charts). Economist Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute called this “a substantial drop that is not a good sign for future hiring.” And although the number of jobs created was above that needed to keep up with the natural growth of the labor force, Shierholz said that at the growth rate seen this year — around 196,000 jobs a month — “it will take more than five years to return to the prerecession unemployment rate.” For high-school graduates, the economy keeps getting worse.
Economist Dean Baker dug deeper into the report, labeling the composition of the jobs created “disturbing”:
More than a fifth of the added jobs (34,600) were in employment services. Restaurant employment accounted for 38,000 jobs and the retail sector added 29,300. These three sectors accounted for more than half of April job growth. Health care added 19,000 jobs, a bit less than its 25,000 average over the last year.
Jobs were lost in construction and government. Local and state governments have shed 224,000 jobs over the past year. Manufacturing employment was flat. “One disturbing item in the household data was a 1.0 percentage point drop in the share of unemployment due to voluntary quits. This is the sharpest fall since February of 2009 and could be an indication of less confidence in the job market.” Also, “there is zero evidence that the prolonged period of high unemployment is due to a lack of skills of the workforce.”
What are you seeing at your workplace?
Read on for the best links of the week and the haiku:
This Week’s Links:
• Self-defeating austerity shocks | Vox
• More services mean longer recoveries | Berkeley Blog
• CEO-to-worker pay ratio ballooned 1,000 percent since 1950, report says | Huffington Post
• The systemic plight of labor | Felix Salmon/Reuters
• Six ways to separate lies from statistics | Bloomberg
New to Twitter: @WarrenBuffett
Today’s Econ Haiku:
NBA back stab
That’s what monopolies do
Twirl your Stern moustache