The U.S. unemployment rate fell below 5% last month, a level not seen since early 2008. That drop, which happened faster than many economists had expected, should trigger employers to offer higher wages as they chase fewer potential hires. But the textbook case is muddled by the shifting demographics of the U.S. workforce.Source: Wall St. Journal "How Older Women Are Reshaping U.S. Job Market" (February 23, 2016)
Older men and women are leaving the workforce more slowly than in the past, suggesting a greater potential labor supply—and more slack—than an unemployment rate below 5% would typically imply. Such economic slack must be cinched—by finding jobs for discouraged younger workers, for example—before wages can rise more broadly.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Writing in the Wall St. Journal, Nick Timiraos, follows up on the changing demographics of the U.S. workforce: "Since the start of the most recent recession in December 2007, the share of older working women has grown while the percentage of every other category of U.S. worker—by gender and age—has declined or is flat." In addition to providing some human interest angles, the article also points out: