Friday’s labor-market report showed that the number of full-time U.S. jobs as a share of total employment rose to 81.7 percent, the highest level since November 2008. For those worried (including not a few presidential candidates) that this economic recovery has been one that’s created only low-quality jobs, this should be really good news.
At the same time, the number of employees on the payrolls of temporary work services also fell, declining 8,900, the report showed. All of these statistics combine to paint a picture of a “shift to full-time work,” economists led by Derek Holt at Scotiabank in Toronto wrote in a note to clients.
The rest of the details of the jobs report were also solid. Overall, payrolls climbed by 215,000 in July and the unemployment rate held at a seven-year low of 5.3 percent.
Hale Stewart: The Recovery In The Labor Market Is The Best In 25 Years
Every month we read stories about what a poor labor market recovery this has been. The latest articles were from Profs. Brad DeLong and Menzie Chinn. I respectfully disagree. With few exceptions, people don’t get a job for social reasons. They go to work each day in order to earn money to purchase necessities, discretionary goods, and to save for future needs. In short, they work because of cold, hard cash. Next, let’s compare two economies that both create 1 million 40 hour a week jobs, but one pays $10/hour and the other pays $12/hour. Clearly the second economy is better. It is paying workers 20% more than the first.
Finally, let’s compare two economies that create 1 million 40 hour a week jobs at $10/hour. In the first economy, there are 3% annual raises, but inflation is rising 4%. In the second, there are 2% annual raises, but inflation is rising 1%. Again, even though the second economy is giving less raises, it is the better one — those workers are seeing their lot improve in real, inflation-adjusted terms, whereas the workers in the first economy are actually losing ground. In other words, the best measure of a labor market recovery is that economy which doles out the biggest increase in real aggregate wages. The bottom line is that, measured 5 years and 11 months out from the bottom, this labor market recovery has been the third best of the 7 expansions, behind the 1960s and 1980s