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Welcome back to The Workweek, the Indeed Hiring Lab’s round-up of the latest research, news, and perspectives that made us think deeply or differently about the labor market this week. It’s your guide to the most important new insights about work.
Here are our picks for this week:
Maximum employment is inherently an inclusive goal, Fed governor declares
Many economists consider the current 4.4% US unemployment rate an indication that the nation is approaching—or already at—full employment. However, in recent remarks, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard raised the possibility that there is more room for improvement in the economy, citing sluggish gains in inflation. Notably, Governor Brainard also pointed out that the past few years of growth have not spread evenly throughout the labor market. Therefore, when the Fed weighs monetary policy decisions, it has an obligation to be inclusive, which means it must consider how different demographic groups are faring. [The Wall Street Journal]
The open road is no joy ride
Next time you pass a semi on the interstate, consider this: The US economy depends heavily on that guy or gal behind the wheel. The nation’s 1.7 million long-haul truck drivers transport 70% of all freight moved in the US. It used to be that trucking was considered a plum job. Not anymore. Employers fight incredibly high turnover rates among drivers, partly because inflation-adjusted wages have fallen by a third since the early 1970s. The open road is not an easy life, and the long-haul truckers who keep the US economy moving endure more than their share of trials and tribulations. [New York Times]
‘I’m gonna need to you to go ahead and come in on Saturday’
The Federal Reserve’s Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking shows evidence of yet another difference between the work conditions faced by those with a college degree and those without. In the survey, about 17% of the workforce reported their work schedule varies at their employer’s request, and more than a third of those workers get notice of such changes within a day or less. Education is a factor. Workers without a college education are twice as likely as workers with a bachelor’s degree to have work schedules subject to the whims of their employer. [Wall Street Journal]
Help wanted in Utah—really wanted
While it is important to keep in mind that labor market conditions vary greatly from state to state and city to city, this New York Times piece highlights a shortage of workers in Utah as a sign of tighter job markets in a growing number of locations across the US. In a wide range of industries, Utah employers are reporting difficulty finding workers—in some cases, even after raising wages. Some employers are in a position to boost pay, but others operate on slim margins and aren’t able to do so. Agriculture is a notable case in point, and also where immigrant labor and automation are likely to come into the fold. [New York Times]
The US economy isn’t as dynamic as it was
Is the US economy losing its mojo? Many economists worry that declining…