The Atlanta Fed's macroblog provides commentary on economic topics including monetary policy, macroeconomic developments, financial issues and Southeast regional trends.
- BLS Handbook of Methods
- Bureau of Economic Analysis
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Congressional Budget Office
- Economic Data - FRED® II, St. Louis Fed
- Office of Management and Budget
- Statistics: Releases and Historical Data, Board of Governors
- U.S. Census Bureau Economic Programs
- White House Economic Statistics Briefing Room
December 28, 2005
Are Workers Losing Ground? Part II
Menzie Chinn, taking his turn over at Econbrowser, asks the question "How well are workers doing?" His answer, to quote pgl at Angry Bear, is "not as great as advertised." I'm no expert on advertising, but I have waded into these waters before, and have become sufficiently immersed to know that the numbers have become pretty slippery.
That picture is fairly compelling, but it loses some of its bite with slightly longer perspective. Here's the same picture, this time for the entire period since 1967:
The last couple of years look strange only when compared with the immediately preceding years -- which themselves look like an aberration in the period after the great disinflation of the early 1980s. The labor share calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is a wee bit more favorable to the proposition that workers took it on the chin the last couple of years...
... but it is still not clear that this expansion is progressing much differently than the last one. And, really, this is just where the trouble begins. My colleagues Paul Gomme and Peter Rupert explain:
... the “historic lows” in labor’s share are observed only in the nonfarm business sector series produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other measures of labor’s share—for example, for the nonfinancial corporate business sector or the macroeconomy more broadly—are currently near their averages over the last several decades.
Those alternative measures are ones that avoid, for example, the problems associated with allocating rental income and proprietor's income between labor and capital. (In other words, they avoid imputing things that we don't observe.)
To me, the labor market remains something of a mystery. The crux of Menzie's post -- and pgl's endorsement -- is that employment growth, the returns to labor, and so on have been less than they should have been. But I still wonder -- what should they have been?
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to blogs that reference Are Workers Losing Ground? Part II:
- Signs of Improvement in Prime-Age Labor Force Participation
- Could Reduced Drilling Also Reduce GDP Growth?
- Are Shifts in Industry Composition Holding Back Wage Growth?
- Are Oil Prices "Passing Through"?
- Business as Usual?
- What's (Not) Up with Wage Growth?
- Are We Becoming a Part-Time Economy?
- Contrasting the Financing Needs of Different Types of Firms: Evidence From a New Small Business Survey
- Gauging Inflation Expectations with Surveys, Part 3: Do Firms Know What They Don’t Know?
- Gauging Inflation Expectations with Surveys, Part 2: The Question You Ask MattersA Lot
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- Business Cycles
- Business Inflation Expectations
- Capital and Investment
- Capital Markets
- Data Releases
- Economic conditions
- Economic Growth and Development
- Exchange Rates and the Dollar
- Fed Funds Futures
- Federal Debt and Deficits
- Federal Reserve and Monetary Policy
- Financial System
- Fiscal Policy
- Health Care
- Inflation Expectations
- Interest Rates
- Labor Markets
- Latin America/South America
- Monetary Policy
- Money Markets
- Real Estate
- Saving, Capital, and Investment
- Small Business
- Social Security
- This, That, and the Other
- Trade Deficit