Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Thursday: Unemployment Claims

by Bill McBride on 5/24/2017 07:14:00 PM

Some interesting analysis from Josh Lehner at the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis: States at Full Employment, A Prime-Age EPOP Story

The key economic question economists are trying to answer today is whether or not the U.S. economy is at full employment. Given it is more a concept then a hard calculation, you look for signs in the data that suggest the economy is there. In terms of jobs and the unemployment rate, there is no question the data do suggest this. However, at least nationally, wage growth is still relatively slow, albeit picking up some, and inflation remains consistently below target.

Here in Oregon we’re checking more of the boxes than the U.S. overall. Not only have we seen stronger wage gains, but we got the labor force response in terms of rising participation rates. Furthermore, now that the labor market is tight, we are seeing slower job growth which is also expected. Again, I don’t think we’re quite there just yet, but in looking across the nation it’s clear that Oregon is closer than most states.
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Specifically, when it comes the share of the prime working-age population that actually has a job, those between 25 and 54 years old, just two — two! — states are back to where they were last decade, let alone the late 1990s.
The decline in the prime working age EPOP is a long term trend, and I suspect that after adjusted for the long term trend, and maybe a little for population (the 50 to 54 age cohort has a lower participation rate than most other prime cohorts), more states would be back to the levels of a decade ago.

Thursday:
• At 8:30 AM ET, The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released. The consensus is for 237 thousand initial claims, up from 232 thousand the previous week.

• At 11:00 AM, the Kansas City Fed manufacturing survey for May.