Monday, December 19, 2016

Yellen: "Strongest job market in nearly a decade"

by Bill McBride on 12/19/2016 02:02:00 PM

From Fed Chair Janet Yellen: Commencement Remarks

The short version of what I have to say is that while I expect workers will continue to face some challenges in the coming years, I believe, for two reasons, that the job prospects and career opportunities for new graduates at this time are very good. First, after years of a slow economic recovery, you are entering the strongest job market in nearly a decade. The unemployment rate, at 4.6 percent, is near what it was before the recession. This is a level that has been associated with good job opportunities. Job creation is continuing at a steady pace; the layoff rate is low; and job openings are up over the past couple years, which is another sign of a healthy job market. There are also indications that wage growth is picking up, and weekly earnings for younger workers have made strong gains over the past couple of years. That is probably one reason why younger workers reported feeling significantly more optimistic about the job market compared with 2013, according to a survey published just today by the Federal Reserve.

Challenges do remain. The economy is growing more slowly than in past recoveries, and productivity growth, which is a major influence on wages, has been disappointing.

But it also looks like the economic gains of the past few years are finally raising living standards for most people.
emphasis added