When Temp Jobs Are The Only Jobs

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“Temp jobs really don’t do much for you,” he said, complaining about the lack of benefits. “I get only 20 to 25 hours a week — they keep telling me things are going to pick up.” Mr. Fields, 45, had started with 40 hours a week, but now his part-time hours make it hard for him to support his wife, who has returned to school, and their 8-year-old son.

“Everywhere I look for jobs today, it’s all temporary,” Mr. Fields said. “The temporary agencies have picked up all the contracts.”

Steven Greenhouse - The Changing Face of Temporary Employment

What’s Holding Inflation Down

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First, we’ve had very low inflation for a long time, and there’s inertia to inflation. The best indicator of where inflation will be next year is to start from where it is this year. We won the war against inflation. It’s that simple.

Second, we still have slack in our economy, in both labor markets as well as in product markets. Companies have very little pricing power—as an aside, the Internet is a reinforcing factor because consumers can find the price of everything. And we have too many people unemployed or underemployed for workers to be running around demanding raises.

Finally, the Fed has credibility, so expectations of inflation are low. Unmoored expectations could foster higher inflation, as companies try to anticipate higher costs. Fed credibility is a bulwark against that. Unlike 30 years ago, the Fed has had demonstrable success in keeping prices stable by showing it is willing to raise short-term rates to slow growth and inflation.

TIME interviews Paul McCulley, Chief Economist at PIMCO

Weekly Initial Jobless Claims Decrease To 298k

Initial jobless claims for the week ending August 23 were a seasonally adjusted 298k, down from the prior week’s revised reading of 299k. Not seasonally adjusted, jobless claims for the week were 249k.

Jobless Claims

The 4-week moving average of initial jobless claims is 300k.

Jobless Claims Long

The insured unemployment rate was 1.9%, unchanged from the week prior.

Insured Unemployment Rate

The number of unemployment insurance recipients, or continuing claims, for regular state programs was 2.527 million, up from the previous week’s revised reading of 2.502 million.

Unemployment Insurance Recipients

Individual states that had changes in claims of more than 1k (not seasonally adjusted):

States

Jobless claims and the unemployment rate:

Jobless Claims and U3

Flipping Burgers In High School Not The Career-Starter It Used To Be

Teenage fast food worker

We examine whether the benefits of high school work experience have changed over the last 20 years by comparing effects for the 1979 and 1997 cohorts of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Our main specifications suggest that the future wage benefits of working 20 hours per week in the senior year of high school have fallen from 8.3 percent for the earlier cohort, measured in 1987-1989, to 4.4 percent for the later one, in 2008-2010. Moreover, the gains of work are largely restricted to women and have diminished over time for them. We are able to explain about five-eighths of the differential between cohorts, with most of this being attributed to the way that high school employment is related to subsequent adult work experience and occupational attainment.

The Changing Benefits of Early Work Experience

CFNAI Moves Further Above Historical Trend In July

The Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index (CFNAI) was a reading of +0.39 in July, up from June’s revised reading of +0.21. The positive figure indicates that the index is above its historical trend. The index’s 3-month moving average is at +0.25.

53 of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the CFNAI in July, while 32 made negative contributions.

48 indicators improved from June to July, while 36 indicators deteriorated and 1 was unchanged. Of the indicators that improved, 9 made negative contributions.

CFNAI

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity drawn from four broad categories of data: 1) production and income; 2) employment, unemployment, and hours; 3) personal consumption and housing; and 4) sales, orders, and inventories. Each of these data series measures some aspect of overall macroeconomic activity. 

It is constructed to have an average value of zero and a standard deviation of one. Since economic activity tends toward trend growth rate over time, a positive index reading corresponds to growth above trend and a negative index reading corresponds to growth below trend.

Weekly Initial Jobless Claims Decrease To 298k

Initial jobless claims for the week ending August 16 were a seasonally adjusted 298k, down from the prior week’s revised reading of 312k. Not seasonally adjusted, jobless claims for the week were 249k.

Jobless Claims

The 4-week moving average of initial jobless claims is 301k.

Jobless Claims Long

The insured unemployment rate was 1.9%, unchanged from the week prior.

Insured Unemployment

The number of unemployment insurance recipients, or continuing claims, for regular state programs was 2.500 million, down from the previous week’s revised reading of 2.549 million.

UI Recipients

Individual states that had changes in claims of more than 1k (not seasonally adjusted):

States

Jobless claims and the unemployment rate:

Labor Market

State Unemployment Rates In July 2014

The unemployment rate decreased in 8 U.S. states in July. 30 states had increases, and 12 states and the District of Columbia had no change.

Every state has seen its unemployment rate decrease from a year ago, except in Alabama, where it has increased to 7.0% from 6.5%.

Recall that the national jobless rate in July was 6.2%.

State Unemployment Rates