Mary: I’m Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective. Today’s program looks at continuing job worries. Mike, the job market has clearly improved since the days of the recession. The unemployment rate has been cut in half and the number of people employed is increasing each month. But when you look behind these headlines, are there still some concerns you have?
Mike: Summary Answer
- I and many other economists have three concerns
- One is the employment rate, defined as the % of individuals in prime working years (25-54) with jobs
- 80% before the recession, 75% at depths of the recession, but 78% today – so not fully back
- Second is rate at which businesses are adding jobs – called the “hire rate” (new hires as a % of employment): 4% in last expansion period, 3.7% today
- Last – wages – growing very slowly – related to slow improvements in worker productivity
- I’m MW
Mary: And I’m Mary Walden for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.