05 March 2021

About F%$#ing Time

It appears that at least some economists are willing to learn, and they have that the headline unemployment rate is artificially low because it does not take into account discouraged workers

This has been true basically forever, but economists, who favor low wages for everyone but economists, and people who sit on their tenure committees have only now begun to realize this:

When Brianna Kipnis was laid off from a fitness start-up last June, she thought it would be nice to take a month off before returning to the jobs market. She cancelled the lease on her New York City apartment and moved in with her parents in neighbouring New Jersey.


The hopelessness felt by Kipnis and many others is one of the reasons that US policymakers, from the Federal Reserve to the Biden administration, have lost faith in the unemployment rate as an indicator of the strength of the jobs market.

The rapid decline in the US jobless rate has so far exceeded the forecasts of private sector economists and Fed officials alike. The latest reading, for February, will be published on Friday.

But the headline figure has obscured far less encouraging trends in America’s labour market, and is now considered an incomplete and unreliable guide to the trajectory of the US recovery.

“Published unemployment rates during Covid have dramatically understated the deterioration in the labour market,” Jay Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, said during a speech last month, noting that a more realistic unemployment rate was closer to 10 per cent.

Powell is not an economist, which is the second time that this has happened since (I think) William McChesney Martin left the post in 1970, (G. William Miller was in for about a year in the late 1970s, and his time in office was ……… problematic) and I would argue that he has been the best Fed Chair since then. 

You know what you call 1000 economists at the bottom of the ocean?  "A good start"


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