Monday, September 4, 2017

Some Economics for Labor Day

For those who need a dose of economics with their end-of-summer Labor Day family cookout (and really, don't we all need that?), here's a sampling of some earlier posts.

1) "Origins of Labor Day" (September 7, 2015)

The first Labor Day march and celebration almost didn't happen, for lack of a band. Also, was Maguire or McGuire the one who had the idea for such a holiday?

Paying unemployment insurance is a "passive" labor market policy. Assistance with job search and training is an "active" policy. Compared with other high-income economies, the US does relatively little "active" labor market policy--and should consider doing more. See also this follow-up post, "Improving How Job Markets Function: Active Labor Market Policies" (December 30, 2016)

The length of time that a US worker has been in that person's present job--that is, their "job tenure"--seems to be rising. In theory, this could be good news, if workers were finding better and more rewarding job matches. But a more likely explanation seems to be that longer job tenure is arising from a less dynamic economy and a less fluid labor market.

4) Some Economics of Parental Leave (March 3, 2017)

The US has far less parental leave than other high-income countries. But figuring out the effects of parental leave is tricky, because in some countries (like Denmark) it is enacted as a way of encouraging parents (and women in particular) to remain connected with the labor force, while in other countries (like Italy) it is enacted as a way of encouraging parents (and women in particular) to stay home with children. Moreover, the effects seem to vary depending on the length of parental leave and if the leave is paid (and if so, how much!) In "Facing the Costs of Paid Parental Leave" (June 12, 2017), I discuss a proposal from a bipartisan group for expanded US parental leave. 

A National Academy of Sciences report looks at how technology is altering work relationships, the mixture of US occupations, and contributing to wage inequality -- but also how, despite literally centuries of gloomy predictions, it is not decimating the number of jobs. 

The US unemployment rate has now been under 5% for two years. Here are some thoughts from interviews with three different economists about the current situation of US labor markets in terms of shifts in workplace interactions, job search, interactions of jobs and technology.