Amid Clamoring of “Labor Shortages” as 13 Million People Claim Unemployment Benefits, Job Openings Spike Sky-High. Sector by Sector

And many people quit their job to take a better job with higher starting wage & signing bonus, offered by desperate employers.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

All the evidence – data and anecdotal – has been pointing at the same weird phenomenon: Employers are facing a “labor shortage,” even as 13 million people still claim some form of state or federal unemployment compensation, because millions of people who used to work and who could work, cannot work now or still do not want to work at the pay and benefit packages offered.

So here is another piece of this phenomenon: A record spike in unfilled job openings, along with a large number of people who quit an old job to take on a new job, incentivized by aggressive hiring efforts, such as raised wages, hiring bonuses, incentives, and better benefits.

Total unfilled job openings spiked by 590,000 in June to 10.1 million openings, seasonally adjusted, and to 10.3 million not seasonally adjusted, blowing out all prior records, up by 42% from June 2019, according to the JOLTS report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today:

Faced with difficulties in filling open positions, employers are engaging in aggressive hiring efforts that include increased starting wages, hiring bonuses, other bonuses, better benefits, etc.  – and there have been reports to this effect all over the place, from small companies to major employers such as Walmart and Goldman Sachs.

These hiring efforts, designed to bring in qualified staff in this kind of employment environment, have the effect of attracting people who already have a job, motivating them to quit that job and take that better job.

These “quits” surged to a record in April, ticked down in May, and surged again in June, to 3.9 million people who quit their jobs, the second-highest in the data, after the April record, showing just how tough the labor market is for employers, both in hiring and retaining staff, and how hot it is for people who want to work.

This comes as employers of all types reported that their payrolls, at 146.8 million workers, were still down by 5.7 million from February 2020 (green line in the chart below), according to the BLS jobs report on Friday, and as households reported that the number of people working, including the self-employed, at 152.6 million, was still down by 6.1 million from February 2020 (red line):

The sectors with the biggest spikes in unfilled job openings.

In the Professional and Business Services sector, the number of unfilled job openings in June spiked to a record 1.79 million (seasonally adjusted), up 43% from June 2019:

In Education and Health Services, the number of unfilled job openings jumped to a record 1.68 million (seasonally adjusted), up 28% from June 2019, as educational institutions continued to reopen and struggled to hire.

In the leisure and hospitality sector – mostly restaurants, bars, and hotels, but also casinos, etc. – job openings spiked from record to record and hit 1.65 million in June (seasonally adjusted), up 68% from June 2019:

At the same time, while there are 1.65 million unfilled job openings in Leisure and Hospitality,  employers in the sector reported that the number of people working in the sector (at 15.2 million) was still down by 1.74 million from February 2020, according to the jobs report on Friday:

In the Healthcare and Social Assistance sector, job openings rose to a record 1.50 million in June (seasonally adjusted), up by 26% from June 2019

In the Retail Trade – auto dealers, grocery stores, general merchandise operations such as Walmart, mall stores, and all sorts of other retailers – job openings spiked to 1.15 million, up 45% from June 2019:

In Manufacturing, job openings dipped a tad from the breathtaking record spike, to 826,000, the second highest ever and up 77% from June 2019.

At the same time, employers in manufacturing reported that their payrolls, at 12.4 million jobs, were still down by 433,000 workers from February 2020 amid a red-hot boom in manufacturing and loud clamoring about difficulties in hiring qualified people:

State and Local Governments posted 787,000 job openings in June, matching the record in April, and up by 34% from June 2019 (but job openings at the federal government, not shown here, remained within the normal range during the pandemic, except for the spike for the census, which was smaller than the normal census spike):

In the Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities sectors, job openings jumped to 476,000 in June, the highest in the data, up 41% from June 2019:

In Construction, job openings rose to 339,000 in June, among the highest levels in the data, outside of the one-month-wonder-spike in April 2019:

In the Wholesale Trade, job openings ticked up to 284,000 in June, the second highest in the data, behind only April, and was up by 26% from June 2019:

In Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation, job openings rose to 211,000, up 91% from June 2019, and the second highest after the spike in April:

This weird phenomenon of record job openings and “labor shortages” while 13 million people still claim state or federal unemployment insurance is now being tested in states that withdrew from the federal unemployment benefits, including benefits that allowed people to make more while unemployed than while working. Read… Yes, More People Went Back to Work in States that Ended the $300/Week in Federal Unemployment Benefits

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  218 comments for “Amid Clamoring of “Labor Shortages” as 13 Million People Claim Unemployment Benefits, Job Openings Spike Sky-High. Sector by Sector

  1. georgist says:

    Great to see it’s finally a seller’s market for labor.
    At wage negotiation time be sure to squeeze the capitalists just like they have squeezed you.

    And remember that all these wage gains will feed through into land prices, ultimately ending up in the pockets of rentiers. Until you tax land, not labor.

    • Artem says:

      Land is already taxed, just like labor, “capitalist” profits and everything else. Maybe we should start taxing air? A carbon tax, perhaps.

      • georgist says:

        Land is under taxed, labour is over taxed.

        • David Hall says:

          Before WWI the Turks taxed Palestine. The Turks taxed the trees except in cemeteries. The land owners cut down their trees to avoid the tree tax.

        • georgist says:

          David Hall: nothing to do with land value tax

        • Gian says:

          You’re obviously a renter. When “land” taxes go up, so goes your rent. Hoping for higher property tax, in your instance, is like shooting yourself in the foot. As a landlord, I assure you that when the leeches in government raise my property taxes, my renters end up paying the increase. You have a gripe about rents going up, blame government, not landlords.

        • georgist says:

          Gian read up on how prices are set and dead weight taxes. You are totally wrong. Typical landlord.

        • Carl Wilson says:

          If land is highly taxed then owners will do all they can to squeeze more return from the land. The land will suffer.

        • topcat says:

          Quite correct. The unearned income driven by permanently increasing land valuations which transfer wealth to the land owning class is a major problem.
          Land values in an area go up when the state or city improve amenities in that area, the gains accrue soley to the land owners who make a fat profit by doing exactly nothing. This is the basis of rentier capitalism. Land taxes reflecting the increase in value of land due to secondary effects are one good solution to this problem.

        • rhodium says:

          Taxing land more should reduce the price of land, thereby making it cheaper to acquire and develop houses and apartments. Yes, the costs get passed on, but the extra housing supply might make up the difference. Who loses? Rentier capitalists who salivate over their asset portfolios. I am not one, therefore I will vote in the interest of the majority. Why do you think “democracy” so often only allowed the landowners to vote? Because when the people do what’s in their interest they don’t let these people lord over them. You better start doubling down on the propaganda before people figure it out.

    • Djreef says:

      If it walks like inflation and talks like inflation…

      • TweedleDum says:

        Then it must be Transitory.

      • Kurtismayfield says:

        So paying labor more = inflation

        What does record profit margins equal to?

        https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/23/earnings-season-has-been-great-so-far-with-profit-margins-holding-up-in-the-face-of-inflation.html

        “While margins for the S&P 500 have typically been at the 9% to 11% range for the past five years, the first quarter saw margins at 13.0%, a historic record.”

        • Gne says:

          Profits are up because we got rid of the “dead” weight. Not bringing them back either.

      • Paulo says:

        As Gian said, last year I raised my tenants rent. I said we’re now good, unless my taxes go up again, then I will have to adjust the rent again. I don’t make any profit on my rental, as I just use the cash flow to cover insurance and taxes. However, I sure as hell won’t go in the hole being a landlord. I’ll tear the place down, first. I don’t lose any money, but also don’t really cover the expenses, either. However, the property has increased in value so it looks good on paper in any event.

        I rent to friend of mine who is a destitute senior. If he can find a better deal I’ll hire the movers.

        • topcat says:

          …However, the property has increased in value so it looks good on paper in any event….

          Indeed – this is exactly the issue. You have done nothing and the value of your land has increased, possibly quite substantially.

    • Sams says:

      Rather tax FIAT (money) and transactions of FIAT (money) than land. Todays rentiers are the bankiers, not the landovners.

      • georgist says:

        Additional fiat issued against additional wealth creation is not inflationary.

        Only fiat issued against non wealth creation is inflationary. The main culprit is rentier activity.
        Landowners have been given hundreds of thousands each for doing nothing.

        • Anthony A. says:

          Landowners I know work hard for years and saved to buy the land. They didn’t get it for free. And they use that land to produce income and pay taxes.

        • georgist says:

          You just need to read up on unimproved vs improved value of land, think about where the majority of the price of “housing” is in urban areas, and then think about what creates house price gains. I don’t have the time to do this. Ricardo, Friedman, Smith and Keynes all broadly agreed on this stuff.
          Just saying they worked to get the deposit says nothing about the over-arching process, it’s just an emotional plea, devoid of real analysis.
          Housing is clearly a huge mess, clearly there’s a big problem. Why not try to understand it?

        • georgist says:

          Also just to add, I notice in Americans simply having “produced income” is enough to claim validity. Classical economists would never have accepted such a thing, they saw rentier activity as very bad and sought to suppress it.
          Americans probably see regulating land as communism, however land ownership is enforced constantly by the state at the public’s cost.
          The American ideal of the “free market” is full of such contradictory ideas that result in a garbled mess.
          Look to Smith, who had an influence on the founders. He saw rentier activity as a bad thing.

        • Nacho Bigly Libre says:

          @georgist

          Agree with your diagnosis of symptom.

          Landowners have got tremendous boost in the last decade.

          When Fed creates so much liquidity it has to flow somewhere. At the turn of millennium it was the tech stocks. Post 2008 crash it has been real estate.

          Taxing land will only treat the symptom. Unless the cause (Fed printing) is cured rentier activity will continue elsewhere.

        • Shane says:

          The Tesla stock you bought went up, but you did nothing. The bitcoin you bought went up, yet you did nothing. The municipal bonds you invested in, and which you did nothing to create, went up. Yet if I’m a landlord and have the same effect happen to my investment, I’m evil? Give me a break…

        • RightNYer says:

          Shane, I don’t think he is saying that land going up is any worse than the others. None of it is a bad thing in and of itself, if it was due to actual innovation in the economy, as opposed to expansion of the money base.

        • wkevinw says:

          “Rentier activity” is, as usual, too general to be useful in the discussion. So I guess somebody who has a savings account with 0.5% interest is engaging in destructive “rentier activity”.

          Any “activity” that is predatory is not good- whether it’s in the real economy, or investment/rentier.

          If there is an excess profit in “rentier activity”, it always comes from on issue: lack of competition. The (“rentier”) profit margin is somebody else’s (business) opportunity- in a functioning free market.

          Regulators are supposed to provide a framework where competitive markets function (i.e. not confiscate and redistribute wealth). If not, you get distortions such as we see today.

        • Lynn says:

          The problem isn’t so much with smaller landlords. The problem is with large corporations and large private RE holders. AND REITs which buy properties (cannibalistic pension funds feed into this). Some of whom are leaving housing units empty- not sold, not rented, just sitting there rotting. Raising land taxes is just going to put the average person in a more difficult place with their single holding- their home. And prevent others from ever owning a home. People used to be able to buy a home easily in most areas on moderate wages.

          What would make more sense is to have an extra large tax on large holders and yet another extra tax on foreign owners who own more than one home, especially if those homes are kept empty. Instead we have the EB5 program which expedites citizenship to foreigners who buy a house worth more than, I think, $550K.

          At the rate we are going the government itself may have to build housing to prevent more and more homelessness.

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Seems nearly everything is heavily taxed … except air and, it seems, corporate profits & CEOs’ capital gains.

      • georgist says:

        Nope, but you are going to have to tax stuff, so tax the right stuff (rentier), to disincentivise it, and leave stuff you want to happen more untaxed (labour).
        Just throwing your hands up and saying “we are taxed enough already,” is just giving up.
        As a nation you need an intelligent conversation about what should and what should not be taxed. That will take some thinking.
        It may end with less tax for regular people, the *mix,* is the critical detail.

        • Artem says:

          georgist,
          Taxing land is a roundabout legislative method to take care of the problems you allege. You want to disallow land ownership or some behavior assoicated with it. Why not just ban “rentier” behavior directly?

      • some bob says:

        The air is taxed. People are wearing masks since last year.

      • Auldyin says:

        WS
        Way, way, back, in olde England, the King introduced a window tax.
        Folks lived in the dark and candle sales went up. Then he taxed candles as well.
        2 certainties in life, Death & Taxes.

    • Sit23 says:

      Capitalism sure shows how horrible people are to other people. With Communism it is the other way round!

      • Artem says:

        Sit23,
        It’s not the other way around at all. In real life, people aren’t equal in socialist or even communist society, especially if they have inherent power or connection to power. It works the same way as capitalism but with less transparency.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          In my experience with the three ”isms”,,, it all boils down to the corruption OF the system of GUV MINT,,, NOT the theoretical benefits , fairness or other factors of the system.
          Tried each within admittedly very small populations of folks with all the good intentions possible, and just went to prove what grandma used to tell me with a laugh:
          ”The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
          IMO, no theoretical system of human relations takes the place of good folks willing to share the good and the bad to a reasonable extent.
          And to be sure, it is unlikely that any of the ” isms ” have actually been practiced on any larger scale than a ”clan” or extended family,,, ever.
          And it is fairly certain that all,, all of the known implementations of these ” isms ” have sooner and later evolved down to the monopoly of violence/force by the resulting GUV MINTS, just exactly as has always been the case with the king owning us all.

        • Lynn says:

          It’s a joke. If that is not obvious then it is a koan.

      • Auldyin says:

        S23
        All the little ‘isms’ are history.
        The ‘Ism’ to worry about for our time is ‘Globalism’ and the crippling bureaucracy it controls all our lives with.
        WHO, IMF, BIS, WB, IPCC, etc, etc. The Davros crew.
        Elected Govts must now do what they’re told by their Global masters who have the luxury of never standing for election.
        They are taking away our freedoms at an accelerating rate, which almost makes me glad I’m too old to care.

    • Not in denial says:

      It is good to see A positive for the job market. However A virus comes along
      puts millions out of work , renters cant afford their rent and finally the
      landlord or duplex owner cannot pay the mortgage.
      eventually the bank or mortgage company defaults and forecloses on the property. Unless the bank pays the property taxes then revenue goes down.
      Usually they Don’t and put A tax lien against the property meaning more taxes in other areas to make up the difference.
      You want to get rid of tax on labor I would agree to end the Income tax as it was passed temporarily to fund world war 1 . we still have it today 104 years later. The problem with Government is they have promised too many things and there are not enough people to pay unless they keep increasing taxes and that is exactly what our current government is doing. You may not like folks who own property however if the government owned it all who is going to pay the taxes on it ?

    • Chris Herbert says:

      To Georgist:

      Yup.

    • John Dixon says:

      You expect something for nothing. If people want higher wages they should learn a trade or get an education. Not devalue my wages and cause increased inflation for being overpaid for a job you can learn in a week from a teenager. We just increased our janitorial staff wages by $4.00 an hour resulting in 21 out of 24 who received a raise asking if they could cut back on their hours. They do not expect more pay for their hard work. They want less work for the same pay.

      • OutsideTheBox says:

        Just like shareholders want way more dividends, capital gains, appreciation for the same if fewer shares of stock.

        Just like those who have a pile of financial instruments be they stocks or bonds, gold or cash feel entitled to even more of same since they had a pile in the first place.

  2. Cobalt Programmer says:

    At this rate of job gain and unemployment benefits, the number of people in both categories will be higher than the total US population. New terms like “Job gain paradox”, “paradigm shift on US labor force”, “Multi-dimensional approach to unemployment problem”. People are blindfolded and refuses to see.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Cobalt Programmer,

      “At this rate of job gain and unemployment benefits, the number of people in both categories will be higher than the total US population.”

      ? That’ll be the day.

      At the moment, US total pop = 328 million. Long way to go.

      • cas127 says:

        Wolf,

        I’m having a *lot* of problems with believing what the JOLTS survey appears to claim…especially in terms of openings.

        Perhaps the problem is definitional or methodological. Or not.

        1) I find it very hard to believe that the JOLTS “openings” stat exceeds BLS payroll adds by multiple millions month after month after month.

        It is very common to see JOLT reported “openings” be in the 4 to 5 million range in a given month (let alone the current month’s 10 million). That 4 to 5 million range applied pre-pandemic too.

        Yet, it is extremely rare for the BLS employment payroll adds to be anywhere near 1 million in a given month…and those few months were Covid bounce back months.

        So, on the one hand, we have JOLTS claiming 4 to 5 million openings in a normal month (and up to 10 million in these abnormal months) but BLS payroll adds are *maybe* 300k to 400k in normal good times (and maybe up to 1 million in the abnormal bounce back now).

        So JOLTS “openings” appear to exceed actual hirings by *millions* month after month, year after year…essentially forever.

        That doesn’t make much sense to me and suggests there is some dramatic definitional/methodological mismatch going on between the JOLTS team and the payroll adds team.

        A theory might be that “openings” could be filled by the “shifting” of current workers to new jobs…filling the claimed “openings” without an equivalent increase in net payroll adds.

        But, if so, what happened to millions of vacated jobs?!

        They weren’t filled (no net payroll adds of anywhere near the same order)…did they just cease to exist once the “shifting” employees left? Extremely unlikely.

        I think the claimed JOLTS openings may (*may*…but see below) be directionally correct…but massively inflated…or massively misdefined/misunderstood.

        2) I make no claim that my personal empirical experience needs to be consistent with ntl surveys but…

        For many years I have had 6 keyword/geographically targeted Indeed job search emails sent to me every day. I have years worth of data, using identical search terms.

        Historically, there were days when some keyword phrases would result in over 300 hits for a single search combo.

        The last three *months* of email results (with identical criteria) have yielded by *far* the worst results ever (like 2 or fewer hits per phrase per day)

        Of course, this is a narrow keyhole view into a very large universe…but one extremely inconsistent with the JOLTS claims about trends in “openings”.

        My search criteria are not that esoteric and the geo restriction is Texas…the second most populated state.

        I wonder what Indeed’s ntl macro numbers/trends look like…and if they are remotely consistent with the JOLTS hugely caffeinated “openings” data.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          cas127,

          You say the same thing about JOLTS data every time, and I answered it before and shot it down before. But it doesn’t matter, you will just keep posting the same thing.

        • Cas127 says:

          Wolf,

          I know that you work off what looks like a periodic schedule of post topics but your readership doesn’t have as easy/fast access to your archive of posts/responses as you do (pretty much just Google and keyword guessing for us)…plus we have a less exclusive focus on a single blog.

          So we forget what you may have said in the past on a given topic.

          Maybe a numbered FAQ page would allow you to quickly reference previously asked/answered questions. Or a simple link to previous post.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          C10:
          1. First and likely most important, these and pretty much all the ”data” coming from the GUV MINT has always been ”edited” for compliance with the desires of the ‘team’ in the executive branch, frequently, as right now, exacerbated when the majority legislative branch is the same team. This is just human nature / politics on a personal level such as , ”Do you want to keep your job?”
          2. With re the HUGE amount of job openings, also now and for years, we can suppose with relative certainty, that there continues to be an effort by those folks who want cheap and cheaper labor here in USA to keep up the pressures, public and private to keep the immigration pathways, legal and otherwise as open and flowing as possible; screaming about lack of labor, and lack of folks willing to show up and actually work instead of filling a slot and taking a pay check. Maybe some day when we really have open communication resources available, we will see the emails regarding the folks organizing this effort, though not likely.

  3. MonkeyBusiness says:

    Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation … Broadway shows are starting again. In San Francisco, Hamilton will begin showing this week, and Harry Potter will be making a return sometime next month I think. Concerts, etc are also making a return. So not surprised at all.

    • Nickl says:

      Stuff that are only for the one percent now or trust fund babies. A single ticket to any of the events you mentioned starts in the three and goes into the four figures, not really attainable for someone making a $600 a month car payment or a $3500 a month PiTi house payment for your average car and home respectively

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        I think that’s always been true? The thing is these shows tend to hire a lot of people. Actors, stage hands, etc, etc. Lots of things going on behind the scenes when it comes to Broadway shows.

        No doubt Vegas shows are also coming back if they haven’t already.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          No MB it has NOT always been true:
          In the sixties, I used to be able to afford to take the bus to SF for a quarter, and go to see the D’oyly Carte live performances for $5 for ”reasonable” seats, while still a struggling student at Cal earning $5 per hour doing whatever manual labor jobs came up on the job board…
          Earlier, in the fifties, mom and dad would drive straight through to NYC from FL, see a couple of shows on Broadway and drive home to go to work Monday morning; we were definitely NOT in either of the classes you include.
          Not to disagree with your evaluation re current situation.

        • josap says:

          In the 90s I would take my son to the theater on Blue Jean Sunday, ticket prices were $5.00

    • Wisdom Seeker says:

      Delta may have something to say here.

      Hospitalization rates are now climbing fast in SF Bay Area.

      • sunny129 says:

        EXACTLY!

        Especially Break through infections of the Vaccinated. CDC ignores all break through infections unless they die or hospitalized. Both symptomatic and symptomatic can transmit the highly infectious delta variant.

        Read the experts in the field like Eric Topol, if interested, but should thru critical machine in each of us.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        92% of Los Angeles County’s current hospitalizations are not fully vaccinated.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Quoted:

        “As it stands, people who are not vaccinated make up from 80% to 95% of hospitalizations throughout California. Fully vaccinated people who end up in the hospital almost always are over age 80 and have one or more underlying health problem.

        “Unvaccinated patients who are hospitalized tend to be younger and healthier than those who received hospital care earlier in the pandemic. Farnitano said a slightly lower percentage of hospitalized patients are ending up in intensive care — about 20% now, compared with 25% to 35% last summer and winter.”

        https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Here-s-when-the-Bay-Area-delta-COVID-surge-is-16370982.php

    • Lynn says:

      Up here in the far northern part of the state many scheduled events are canceling. Some at last minute. Of course, we don’t have the resources SF does so perhaps more cautious.

  4. DazedAndConfused says:

    No need to work – our beneficent Fed overlords will continue to print money and we can all trade crypto and meme stocks back and forth with each other. It’s a new post-post-industrial economy.

    • Djreef says:

      Exactly. The Fed is telegraphing to the institutions and money managers to start gradually liquidating equities to mom and pop going into next quarter when the hammer falls on the unsuspecting retailers.

    • georgist says:

      Young people can see working in a regular job is a mug’s game in a financialised economy where rentiers collect all productivity gains via land.

      • Paulo says:

        Give it a freaking break, already. My kids are young. Both own their own homes and work full time. My son is also a landlord. He is 37, saved up his money and now owns two houses, one with property and one in town. He rents the upstairs out of his house in the burbs, and lives in the basement suite. His outlay is about 1K per month with taxes and insurance to cover. He rents his rural property out to a friend of mine. By the time he is ready to retire the houses will both be paid off and the rents will make up part of his retirement plan.

        Mug’s game, eh. It’s called having a plan, making sacrifices, and not being afraid to take the plunge. He could have just as easily gone bankrupt as he started on his strategy and borrowed mortgage money. But he didn’t. Not exactly a mug.

        You sacrifice to get ahead. I remember one year working 3 jobs. I worked full time, flew bush planes after work and on weekends, and did the occasional reno job on the side for cash. Enjoyed every minute of it. It allowed me to retire at age 57. I will probably buy another place to rent out within a year. This is what my kids have seen. Hard work and having a plan pays off. That plan did not include car payments or fancy vacations. We had crap cars and went camping for holidays. etc etc. I know many many young people doing what I did. Two are boilermakers making very good wages, and two are electricians. They work for a living and are getting ahead, one year at a time. Blue collar success stories.

        • georgist says:

          Very boomer stuff. Not the same economy now, unless you just think an entire generation is lazy, which I don’t.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          You are correct re younger folks getting ahead with hard work, saving, and having a plan P:
          Several young friends, 40s down to late 20s are doing it right now, the younger ones, as you and I did, with two or more jobs, now called, ”side hustle(s) ” BTW,,LOL.
          All of these folks have spent some time getting ”educated” though not necessarily in a formal/college setting, with all of them getting additional OJT beyond any book learning, etc…
          Is it harder now than 50+ or – years ago? Hard to tell when skilled labor is now getting up to $150 per HOUR,,, maybe more some places from what I read on here.

        • wkevinw says:

          I am also a beneficiary of my own hard work, good fortune, etc., over many decades now.

          The “biggest”? problem in the labor market, for example, is that those of us in the “working class” (younger than I am!), trying to get an entry – level job, those jobs “don’t exist”/”don’t pay enough” to support what they used to.

          So, the anecdotes are no doubt true. However, when the vast numbers of people in the lower end of the working class have had this much trouble with their wages not being enough to “live a regular life”, one has to pay attention.

          There is a lot of structural difference in the real economy now vs. a few decades ago in the US.

          It’s sort of equivalent to what georgist is saying (“Not the same economy now”)

        • Trailer Trash says:

          “It’s called having a plan”

          Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. For me it was a severe chronic illness. For other people the only factory in town moved to China, or a spouse died, or one of a hundred other catastrophes hit them in the face.

          It’s great that things are working out for your family. Many of us are not so fortunate. The Greed Is Good mentality says everything bad that happens to a person is their own fault for being lazy/stupid/undisciplined/etc.

          The complete lack of compassion for others is dissolving society, just like that concrete-and-corroded-rebar condo in Florida.

          Uncle Sam Land claims to be a Christian nation but only pays lip service to Christian teachings.

        • OutsideTheBox says:

          TT

          1000% agree !!!

          See all the ” I worked HARD for everything I got ” types are often hard to take.

          Going to pick on Paulo for a moment….know you got wide shoulders and can take it.

          Paulo was a bear for work and worked long and hard. But here is where the good unearned fortune came in. He was healthy….mentally & physically.
          Seems like his family didn’t have burdensome events either.That is good fortune from Providence….unearned. He shares that he was a working commercial pilot. Lots of folks would have killed for the job but couldn’t pass the medical exam. So the good genes and good parents who didn’t let him die in infancy were unearned.

          Point is nature and nuturing are key to success. The hard workers had that given to them. I point to that for their success as much their actual ” hard work ”

          A lot of the success of “the plan” can be credited to UNEARNED advantages.

      • ishi says:

        I’m starting to think you are a bit concerned about private land ownership

      • Lynn says:

        Georgist I live in rural far northern California where there is an extreme housing shortage. People are living in tents and chicken shacks on someone else’s pot farm with no electricity or running water and ever diminishing wages and ever increasing land prices. It is a %^&* feudal system up here. I get what you are saying. However, preventing average wage earners from ever owning property is going to make it worse. Not better.

        I’m a leftist. I’m personally pro gun rights and I very much like the idea of land redistribution a la Latin America. In a perfect world. However, we don’t have a perfect world. We don’t have the same social values as Latin Americans. We don’t share so much. Zapatas vision is not going to happen here. If anything happens it’s going to be so chaotic, angry, personally motivated and unplanned it won’t even be funny. The amount of greed, fear, anger and severe lack of socialization is not predicative of a good outcome. Especially with simplistic black and white thinking.

        • JBird4049 says:

          “The amount of greed, fear, anger and severe lack of socialization is not predicative of a good outcome. Especially with simplistic black and white thinking.”

          Lynn: America has *always* been more individualistic than other nations, but in the past was still much more communalistic than it is today; this is because of a multi decade effort to make us more insanely individualistic, isolated, desperate, enraged, and artificially stupid. Thinking of the health of our society or our children is that deadly, Godless communism dont’cha know!

        • JBird4049 says:

          I forgot to add that it will take a great effort, ala the Progressive Movement of a century ago, to get people to face their fears, think, act and not just emote. Much of the comments and articles I read are the creation of people’s fears, not from any thought out ideology.

          It is hard to solve all the problems we face, or even agree on what they are, if we as a society are stuck by fear. Fear that is engendered by those that benefit from our current hellscape.

  5. 3D Modeler says:

    Let’s be clear…all of these wage gains will feed into the increased prices of the products and services offered by the companies paying the higher wages…whether or not you happen to be someone who’s receiving higher wages.

    • OutsideTheBox says:

      3D

      So let’s continue to suppress wages so everyone can get their niniety nine cent hamburger ?

      Yeah….cheap labor can benefit some to the greater detriment of many.

    • MF says:

      So we should go back to the good old days where holders of capital could trot the globe in search of cheap labor while printing money and handing it to themselves?

      The day of reckoning when inflation reared its ugly head was always coming. It was just a matter of when.

      Corporations and financiers created all kinds of horrible labor crushing inflation with their money printers in overdrive over the last 10 years. And now that higher labor costs force them to pay a living wage to their gardeners and au pairs, you’re wringing your hands? Ok. Sure.

      • 3D Modeler says:

        No MF, I don’t want to return to any “good old days.” I’d like to move forward to a time when both wages and prices are truly STABLE over very long periods of time, including the prices for housing, vehicles, education and health care. Then an individual or head(s) of a household could reasonably plan their future expenditure needs, and pursue their education and careers goals with reasonable confidence that they’ll be able to afford the lifestyle they desire for themselves and their family…both now and in the future. That’s what I’d like to see happen.

        • 3D Modeler says:

          *career goals

        • MF says:

          Don’t we all?

          That wasn’t the point of my argument. My point is that people only notice — and care — after they see it affecting themselves directly and it’s too late to do anything about it.

        • 3D Modeler says:

          “Don’t we all?” No, not everyone wants that. The eff ups at the Fed don’t want that. Congress doesn’t want that. Corporate titans don’t want that. Because if they did, it would happen.

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          3D Modeler, such an era of price stability etc has no historical precedent. Technology, disease and warfare tend to mess things up. And Minsky will say that stability breeds instability.

          I’d personally prefer a more dynamic world, but one that is heading in the right direction. Prices don’t need to be stable but they need to stay affordable. Hard work needs to be properly rewarded. And skimming and corruption need to be taken off the menu of acceptable options.

        • 3D Modeler says:

          I agree, WS…that’s why I said “stable” and not “fixed.” But the increase in prices for the big four expenditures…Housing, Vehicles, Education and Health Care, and now other consumer goods & services, has been anything but stable. Label it whatever you want, but it’s not working.

        • Trailer Trash says:

          “a time when both wages and prices are truly STABLE over very long periods of time”

          That is impossible thanks to the miracle of compound interest and the drive for ever-increasing profits. Instability is a feature, not a bug. Period financial panics are necessary events that give financial parasites the opportunity to buy assets at pennies on the dollar.

    • georgist says:

      This is incorrect, there is clearly a continuum between how much surplus value labour retains and how much capital retains.
      Don’t be such a defeatist American, you don’t have to lie down, prostrate in front of capitalists.

    • Auldyin says:

      3D
      Unfortunately wages tend to be the stragglers in the inflation race and some drop out when they can no longer keep up.
      Buyer’s strike and saving are the best way to break the cycle but people don’t act in concert, they compete and outbid or undercut each other thereby accelerating the process.

  6. JG says:

    This is a joke. Until the government ends the moratoriums on rent, mortgages, student loans, auto loans and of course the enhanced unemployment bennies and stimmies (which will not end and will keep getting extended due to Delta, Lambda, Theta, Zeta…cold weather, etc) people up to a certain wage level, will stay home and get paid the same or more not to work. “There is nothing more permanent than a temporary government program”-Ronald Teagan

    • OutsideTheBox says:

      Or a lobbyist…

    • MF says:

      The next place for rent-moratorium recipients to land is the streets. If you don’t have an address, you don’t qualify for most jobs. Get used to this being a permanent phenomenon. We’re headed into the paradox of hosting a permanent underclass which is wholly unqualified for jobs that can’t be automated but go unfilled for lack of qualified applicants.

      This is what happens when you cut those government programs that train people when and where employers won’t or can’t. You reap what you sow. If you sow scam education programs designed to create lifetime debt servants, that’s what you’ll get. What did you expect? Qualified tradespeople??

      Wall street throw a party every time someone announces layoffs. You should attend one and toast the decimation of the labor force for short term profit. :)

      • Nickl says:

        Neither if you are over the age of say 45 or worse in your 50s. Age discrimination is alive and well. And what about people who have been out of the labor force for more than a few months.. There are and always will be unemployable

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Nonsense N:
          Last two work positions I was RECRUITED for, one salary, one hourly as ”consultant” I was in my 70s, and both bosses knew it before I was hired. Telling the recruiters these days that I am 77 does not seem to dissuade them, so I just say I am ”fully” retired; that seems to work.
          The issue, ( FKA problem, LOL ) is not age, it’s applicable skills, and that goes across the board, no matter if ”digging ditches” or building computer modules to take someone to Mars.
          Enough already with the blaming of others,,, ”get thee to thy needed education!!”

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Forgot to include my early days as a teenager starting out in the construction trades in SWFL:
          Two of the guys I worked with and was mentored by were in their 70s, both retired from Unions ”up north,” and living the good life with a couple of ”nieces” each, ” taking care of the housework.”
          Both of them could do more work in a day than I could because they were SKILLED at what they did, and the bosses knew it and would hire them anytime they could get them.

      • Nickl says:

        “” We’re headed into the paradox of hosting a permanent underclass which is wholly unqualified for jobs that can’t be automated but go unfilled for lack of qualified applicants. “”

        You mean people who are the wrong age,race, been outof the labor force for too long, have a criminal record etc…

        • Ted says:

          NICKL: No, we are talking about people who cannot manage to show up on time, pass a drug test or do simple math.

    • phoenix says:

      Who’s Ronald Teagan? Never heard of him

    • georgist says:

      My landlord is sat at home while I work.

      Let workers kick back for a change!

  7. Minutes says:

    About to get even more interesting with vax mandates all over the place from business and government. I would expect a quits spike in the next few months with that backdrop. Just an observation

    • JoAnn Leichliter says:

      One wonders, too, since there has been a lot of whining about the reduced number of women in the workforce, just how many couples learned during the interminable lockdowns that they could survive on just one income. Considering money saved from two-job expenses, a bit less eating out–hey, presto! So the lesser-earning spouse stays home (sometimes it’ll be the husband). Women find out staying home is actually satisfying and even with kids around is less stressful.

      How many people who are not going back to work just started up a small business while they were considered non-essential? Sure, enhanced unemployment benefits have been a factor, but it remains to be seen how great a one.

      • OutsideTheBox says:

        JoAnn,

        You have completely solved the riddle of the missing workers !

        Plus all the millions who took early retirement….and will never work again.

      • Unicorn Farts says:

        Please speak for yourself! I’ve been involuntarily unemployed for years, had no interest in having kids, and find being denied the opportunity to do the career for which I worked hard to get an education very stressful. I also find depending on one income stressful, as does my husband who would love to have some economic backup. If a spouse wants to stay home because that’s where their real interests lie, fine, but please DON’T assume that a person finds managing the home to be a fulfilling life because that person is female. About 20% of women in developed countries are voluntarily child free, and that’s NOT because staying home is an easy or wonderful choice for a lot of people.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        JoAnn Leichliter,

        You’re forgetting a huge factor: If a couple lost one income, that person got state unemployment benefits plus the extra $300 a week in federal benefits. The extra $300 a week expires on Sep 6. And state unemployment also expires. So right now, they’re living on UI. Long-term, if they so choose, they have to make do without those UI benefits that they’re now getting.

    • OutWest says:

      Good question. As vax mandates kick in and work places become safer, those who have been reluctant to risk their personal health during a raging pandemic may now be more willing to return to work.

      My governor announced today that all state workers and some healthcare workers must get the jab. Some exceptions for medical or religious reasons.

      • sunny129 says:

        ‘As vax mandates kick in and work places become safer’

        I wish but the reality underneath being denied by MSM is the break through infections. The number is not bad yet but will change once school opens.

        • OutWest says:

          It’s not a problem in private schools, where everyone is vaccinated…

  8. DawnsEarlyLight says:

    I applied to several employers this current summer, that have posted ‘help wanted’ notices. I was feeling the need to be ‘productive’ for the remainder of the year. Finding a suitable full-time position was no problem. Finding a suitable full-time position, that only provides wages is not. It seems many Employers cannot separate benefits (401k, insurance, vacation, etc) from the position offer.

  9. Brant Lee says:

    Just a couple of years ago, people were working in some states for as low as $7 hr no benefits, the local governments paying for healthcare and housing, etc. Too bad for corporates what the Federal level has done to them with all the give-a-ways. Corporations and banks were used to only the high-level important people getting the freebies from the government.

    I think most people here know that you really can’t make a good and satisfying living working for someone anyway. Nowadays especially when corporations are looking to trim the fat every quarter. Thirty-year careers are a thing of the past much less retirement pensions. You might get some good incentives and higher wages to go to work for someone, but just as soon as you can be replaced by a robot or outsourced, your butt is gone.

    Looks like these times are about who will come out on top during the inflation surge. Wages are up but so is everything else.

  10. Lisa_Hooker says:

    I am still unable to fill my open position for a BMW dealer willing to sell me a new 735i for $15k. I can’t understand it. Could it be the amount that I’m offering?

    • DawnsEarlyLight says:

      You forgot to tell them the $15k is your down payment!?

    • KGC says:

      That’s because they don’t make the 735i anymore. They haven’t for a few years now.

    • fajensen says:

      You could probably find one for that. The car will be sitting under a tarp on someones lawn, forever waiting for the funding of a sudden $20k repair bill (Same with Audi, BTW).

      Former colleague would seek those out, buy them cheap, repair them himself, and then sell them on to some sucker still huffing brand fumes.

      German quality is not what it used to be – or maybe it is, except Japan and Korea just lapped them again!

  11. Khowdung Flunghi says:

    “The silver tsunami, so long discussed and dreaded, has come ashore. And the tide of retirements — grizzled workers trading a commute for a tee time, a cubicle for a beach chair — has presented a wealth of workforce woes, loss of expertise and hiring gaps, among them.”

  12. To view the process over a lifetime the notion full employment took a radical change. Now the whole family works not just the breadwinner. The issue here is that families are learning to get by. Our unemployed kid living in the basement, that’s a problem, but not game over on the bottom line. Keeping elderly parents at home is cheaper than assisted living, (where daughter used to work). During the depression my mother picked beans and gave the money to her mother. Those are old family values.

    • OutsideTheBox says:

      People hated those old family values and desperately sought escape from them.

      After all, who wants the mother in law living permanently in your over the garage apartment?

      • DawnsEarlyLight says:

        Wants and Needs should not be compared. Values have always been a personal choice. It’s our choice if we intend to honor them.

        • OutsideTheBox says:

          Most don’t NEED to have the mother in law living over the garage.

          As an interesting aside…..in the pre Medicare days those garage apartments actually were constructed for that explicit purpose.

          I love young folks who say they will never get Social Security.

          Tell ’em they ALREADY are.

          Mom & Dad retired ? Living independently ? Not asking you for help with their medical bills.

          Thank Social Security & Medicare.

        • DawnsEarlyLight says:

          OTB, I definitely don’t disagree :)

        • My mother chose to honor them, and values like virtue, are their own reward. “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” RF

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Not sure where this is coming from, but in SWFL in the later 40s through 60s, most of the apts over the garage were for some of the ”live in” help:
          Usually that meant a couple, with one of them driving, doing the yard work, helping with the heavy seasonal cleaning in the house, serving or bar tending at parties, etc.
          The other was the chief cook, managed the house keeping temps, managed or did the child care, etc., etc.
          MIL and FIL, etc., lived elsewhere.

    • georgist says:

      Land prices, the main component of house prices, are set by available credit.
      Bank lending for one family used to be é times primary income.
      In the 1990s banks changed the 3 times household income.
      Basic knowledge of price setting in a market will tell you that prices go up to absorb the increase in credit.
      So now the wife works for *nothing*, all her wages are split between bankers, land speculators and boomers.
      Zero mention of any of this dynamic on this blog.
      Available credit sets prices. Productivity gains go to existing land owners.

      • georgist says:

        é==3

        • Masked Ghost says:

          Here in my corner of the upper Mid-West the “e” used to be 2 1/2 times your annual income.

          Banks would not lend buyers more than 2 1/2 times the breadwinners annual income.

          But that changed sometime back in the 1960’s…….and yes, that made a huge difference in both the size of new homes, and their cost.

      • Paulo says:

        I remember what my father in law once said to his boy. “Norm”, he said, “you either don’t make enough money or you spend too much. It is really that simple.”

        The magic is matching employment to a lower cost residence. What will people always need and what will they pay for? Health care, home and mechanical repairs, construction, electrical, etc. Game design, recreation, food and beverage, lodging, not so much. Marketing? ha ha.

        So Norm not only did not make enough money, he smoked, partied, lost his home, and didn’t plan for an aging future. His dad was a steam engineer, worked on the side, bought some apartments and houses…fixed them up, sold them, and retired at age 46. He has lived on beachfront for the last 60 years. What people don’t remember is that he rented the basement out for many many years until he had everything paid for. Norm built a sailboat, Dad built his nest egg. Dad provided a free house to his mother in law and never let on he actually owned the place.

        When the FIL bought the house his mother in law lived in he paid cash. It was 2 acres and had a view. The same night the deal closed he was having a brew in the Legion and overheard the seller laughing about the ‘chump’ who bought the old house. Over the years that place appreciated several thousand percent. The land price was not set by available credit, it was set by being a desirable place to live on south Vancouver Island.

        • georgist says:

          That last paragraph makes zero sense, sorry.

        • SwissBrit says:

          gerogist – please explain why you think that last paragraph makes no sense – it’s clear enough to me.

        • georgist says:

          His claim the location set the value is the central idea behind land value tax and improved vs unimproved value of land.

          Did he create the infra on Vancouver island that lead to the price increase? No. Society did.
          I don’t really want to continue on this sub thread as it’s just typical boomer stuff (not you) about lazy, profligate young with no systemic understanding at all. Just blaming an entire generation, which is crazy.

        • R.R. says:

          Thank you for your comment. The first, sensible one I have read on this thread.

      • Auldyin says:

        G
        Available cash sets prices.
        OK, many have to borrow the relevant cash from the bank, as credit, but other bidders in the market are bidding from their own ‘savings’ and even all your classical economists praised savings. There is no immorality in returns to ‘savings’ which is indeed the basic driving force of ‘Capitalism’.
        Would you still despise your landlord if you knew he had saved the cost of your house from a lifetime of hard work? Hope not. Even credit-worthyness has an element of earning to it.

  13. Micheal Engel says:

    1) WTF ZG is up, leaving behind a huge buying tail, reaching Mar lows, after Mon afternoon quickie.
    2) ZG (Gold Futures) weekly log might be a cap & holder, moving up, above the weekly cloud, dancing drunk above the red flat bed, before making a new all time high. 3) Or, test the 2013/19 trading range, closing few weekly gaps on the way down.
    4) ZG weekly log deflation targets : #1 : done, #2 : 1.550. #3 : 1.450, #4 : 1.350.
    5) If that’s what ZG intend to do, it will build a huge cause for INFLATION, or…before the downtrend resume.

  14. Jacky says:

    People are not taking jobs for 2 reasons:

    1) Unemployment benefits pay better (or enough to justify staying home).

    2) Their stock, crypto, real estate, [fill in the asset class] portfolio is worth more money than they’ve ever seen, and likely more money than they can “earn” on a job in 10 years. Why work? Working is for losers. Let others do it.

    • MF says:

      Nope.

      Very few people prefer an unemployment check over fulfilling employment, purpose and a place in society.

      People are quitting and checking out because the pandemic laid bare that nobody — governments, corporations, churches, nonprofits — cares about them.

      They’re on their own and now they know it. All that’s left to do is figure out how to minimize the ability for those above to continue abusing them.

      • Beardawg says:

        MF

        That’s a prescient take on this situation. I think you may be on to something. Before the ‘Rona and around the time of the GFC, I (and others my age) were just “done” with bosses, expectations, responsibilities etc. Seems like it happens a couple years either side of age 50. It was 48 for me. I dropped out with no guarantee of financial stability going forward, but I was resourceful / lucky / whatever, and 10 years later I am secure in retirement.

        If 20-somethings and above are already in that mindset – it may be our new reality. With wages rising constantly and jobs-a-plenty, people may be job-hopping frequently and getting paid handsomely to do so. The gig might be up on employers. Tail now wags the dog…..forever ??

        • Paul from NC says:

          This is exactly what’s been happening in tech for at least the last 25+ years. I was specifically told (after being thoroughly underpaid in my first 2 “real jobs”) by my manager, that if I’m not switching jobs every 2-4 years, I’m going to leave at *least* a million bucks on the table. I was young and naive, so muttered something under my breath about loyalty (Hah!). It took me a long long time to figure out how wrong I was. My kids are just early teens, but I’m already instilling the “be your own boss” philosophy as best as I can. Hopefully they listen.

    • RightNYer says:

      The people not taking jobs are not likely those who have significant assets.

      I think the larger issue is that a lot of people have just given up. As homeownership and other “fruits” of labor are becoming increasingly out of reach due to Fed printing, a lot of people figure “Why bother?” If all you’re going to get working hard is a crappy rental apartment somewhere, why work extra hard to afford a somewhat less crappy apartment?

      • georgist says:

        This. If you can have a roof over your head and eat, why bother chasing a middle class life that is out of reach, and if/when you do get near it, they boost house prices yet again?

        • RightNYer says:

          Yep. I have a lot of professional friends around my age (late 30s) who, even with a dual income, can’t afford a decent house. It’s ridiculous.

      • jon says:

        My friends who are on unemployment for last 1 year or so are not really looking as they are getting good money on unemployment from govt, not paying rents, govt paying for rents ( one of my friends landlord got $11K from govt for back rents ). One more reason is: they are not seeing desired jobs in their field.

        • RightNYer says:

          Yes, there definitely are a lot of people taking advantage, but even “good” jobs no longer lead to homeownership.

          Turning our nation’s housing stock into an investible asset for the moneyed class to rampage through should be considered an act of war.

        • georgist says:

          So landlords get money the market cannot support.
          Yet another landlord/banker bailout like 2008.

      • historicus says:

        The Fed PUNISHES saving
        The Fed pushes real estate values away from the middle class…

        The Fed The Fed…
        whom do they serve? I think we know.

      • 8_mile_road says:

        RightNYer
        This is exactly what many Chinese young people do. They called it “Lying flat” .

  15. MCH says:

    You know, the message that should be going through to the J team here is that they need to up the amount of unemployment benefit. That should help to drive wages up further.

    Then the J team can come out and say that because of our forwarding thinking policies, we have minimum wage now at $25 or pick a number. “Thanks to our policies, the American people are now being paid more.” I challenge anyone to find any lie or misinformation in that comment… cause there would be none.

    Then life will be totally awesome. Don’t mention inflation though, that’s not a real thing. :P

    • DawnsEarlyLight says:

      Where did their 2% inflation mandate come from anyway?

      • MCH says:

        Heaven….

      • historicus says:

        “Our Mandate”……J Powell
        BS!

        Your mandate is “stable prices”. How do these miscreants get away with it? They provide juice for the stock market and the government….at the expense of the People.

  16. Masked Ghost says:

    I know several retired people who were working part time jobs that quit when covid came along.

    Covid is still happening. They won’t be back in the workforce again until Covid is gone.

    • SwissBrit says:

      Covid will never be gone – it’s not going away, and to think otherwise is delusional.
      It will eventually have less effect on our lives and will probably be one of those diseases that we live with, that kills an ‘acceptable’ amount of people in an average year, but full eradication is nigh on impossible.

      Australia’s 100% covid free aim is unrealistic and unsustainable over the long term.

  17. Tom S. says:

    I would call this a major problem. The number of people looking for work is less than the number of job openings and that gap could easily widen in July. We might just be at the very beginning of the inflation period.

    • georgist says:

      It’s a problem for boomers, nobody else.
      Boomers: politicians, I thought we were friends?
      Politicians: thanks for the votes!
      Boomers: millennials you will help us?
      Millennials: nope!

      • Paul from NC says:

        As a millennial, I have no idea what your obsession with people who hold Boom Mics on TV sets is. Nah just kidding, but for real, why are you picking on boomers? Seems you’ve been eating what the media’s been feeding you. My parents (both boomers I guess), are officially “retired” while unofficially continuing to work for cash (welding/steel work, and cleaning people’s houses) so they can eat and pay for health care costs. Why do you believe that *they* ever believed that politicians were their friends?

        • georgist says:

          In aggregate they voted for this.
          Anecdotes like yous are not meaningful for macro.

        • RightNYer says:

          Paul, it’s more that the fruits of the printing have gone almost all to Boomers. But obviously, not all Boomers.

        • Anthony A. says:

          “Anecdotes like yous are not meaningful for macro.”

          Neither are your posts. You are just beating the same drum with no facts. It sounds like you have been watching too much TV news crap.

        • georgist says:

          Anthony: I don’t have a tv.
          I have been reading.

        • Paulo says:

          “Bahh it’s too hard to get ahead. It was supposed to be easier than this. I got blue ribbons all through school. Anecdotes like yours are not meaningful (because I don’t agree with them).

        • p coyle says:

          georgist: if you’ve been reading, perhaps a citation or two once in a blue moon would lend credence to your posts.

        • georgist says:

          Wolf removes links to other blogs/YouTube in my experience.
          In any case it’s just basic economics that’s undisputed, I’m afraid it’s a bit of an echo chamber on here, most posters are older and have really only had the American 5 minute propaganda econ course: free market everywhere all the time, any nuance makes you a communist etc

        • Wolf Richter says:

          georgist,

          You can post the title or key words, and then folks can Google it. Works like a charm.

        • Paul from NC says:

          Georgist,
          I can’t seem to find specific aggregate data for each state’s voting turnout, only a smattering here and there.

          Here’s the presidential votes, take a look at 1964 and onwards, as technically that’s when the first “Boomer” started to vote:

          https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/statistics/data/voter-turnout-in-presidential-elections

          It would seem to this millenial, Communal-Anarchist-leaning immigrant mind, that *just slightly* more than half of the boomers voted for “this” (along with all of the other voting generations), and the other half, like my parents, were too busy trying to find ways to eat to even know when elections were held. I understand this is just anecdota, but this is the only lived experience I have and have seen in the communities I’ve lived.

          I’ve never taken a 5 minute econ course (American-based or otherwise), but am always looking to learn with an open mind, so if you have some URLs or book titles you would recommend, I am more than willing to continue to educate myself…I say this in good faith.

          I take a small offense at the following, as a millennial:

          >Boomers: millennials you will help us?
          >Millennials: nope!

          Why would we not help those whose shoulders we largely stand on (or anybody else who needs help for that reason)? My family and I raise most of our own food throughout the year, and I live way out in the country, where oddly enough, at near 40, I’m the “youngen” – 95% of my neighboors are 65 and older (most are 75+). I freely feed these folks throughout the year as I see and painfully understand their struggle to eat affordable, “healthy” food on a very fixed income in retirement (in my old communist country, I stood in breadlines on a regular basis paying with IOUs, and have seen first hand what food rationing can do to mental well being). Some obviously do better than others, but some don’t even have running water out here. I don’t ask for dates of birth, their income status, or for their political lean, as none of that matters to me or to the folks out here, and I know they wouldn’t ask me either *when* tables turn and I’m the one needing their help. I know, you were probably just making a joke, I shouldn’t take it too seriously, but when I read this “OK-boomer” bashing on a damn-near-daily basis, I am deeply disheartened.

  18. Catxman says:

    Labor has the highest advantage during times of a population crunch, when the number of people goes down.

    During the aftermath of the Black Death (BD: 1347-50 A.D. approx.) there was a large uptick in wages being paid to common people as the number of jobs that existed couldn’t be filled at all.

    If we have another really good plague like BD, that would loosen up the tight pressures on the housing market. It would actually benefit us to lose 20-30% of the overall population, because houses would suddenly become affordable in places like Vancouver and Toronto, Sydney AU and San Francisco.

    • Tony says:

      Hmmm. Easy to think that unless, of course, you yourself become a victim and one of the 20-30%…

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Yes, but what are you going to do if you’re part of that 20-30% that will be lost? You won’t be able to buy that much cheaper house that someone else left behind. You’ll be floating on a cloud looking down in bewilderment, wondering forevermore why you got picked to exit. Fun thought, eh?

      • Georgist says:

        Financialised capitalism is now so effective!
        Me: I’d like a home like prior generations
        Capitalism: best I can do is 25% mass death and if you get lucky pick one up post collapse

        Yet still they defend this system!

  19. Petunia says:

    We moved out of NYC a couple of decades ago pursuing a lower cost of living and a better quality of life. This has led us to move to a few different states, always for a lower cost of living, and not necessarily a better income.

    Overall, leaving NYC was a good idea, and leaving Florida when we could no longer afford it, was a good move too. I think many people have discovered during this crisis, what we discovered during our life/work journey. There are good opportunities elsewhere, you just have to take the plunge.

    Not everyone collecting unemployment from a particular state is still living in that state. People are leaving expensive areas for relatively less expensive places, CA to FL or NV or AZ, NY to FL or NC, FL to TX or GA or NC, TX to TN….eventually the people displaced at the bottom have to move too, and this isn’t being tracked as well. All this dislocation shows up in the jobs numbers as a disconnect between workers and jobs. The low paying jobs are still in NY, CA, and FL, but the workers are long gone.

  20. MH says:

    I am not some radical Marxist, by any means. However, what happened to the days where a man could support a wife who does not work and two children while still earning enough selling televisions at Sears to have a home, two cars, and a summer vacation? This was life back in the 1980’s.

    Hell, how many sitcoms had this similar setup – Married with Children, The Simpsons, etc. all had one bread winner, multiple kids, home ownerships, etc. Granted, they were lower middle class, and I do understand this was fantasy. However, the point remains this wasn’t so far out of the realm of possibility that it wouldn’t be believable. Now, it takes two earners with graduate degrees to afford a $2500/month, 1000sqft box in the suburbs.

    • OutsideTheBox says:

      MH

      Here’s a hint…..billionaires weren’t a thing at that time.

      More for them less for us.

      The world really is a zero sum game.

    • MCH says:

      Al Bundy did not live a happy life. Being a fat woman’s shoe sales person was tough… and he worked in a mall.

    • Augustus Frost says:

      Married with Children is a parody of life. No one working at women’s shoe store as a sales person could support the lifestyle you are implying.

      I don’t believe very many with a job like the one you described (at Sears) could either, without going into debt.

      Most American households in the past during the supposed “golden age” had a lower level of consumption versus today. Most don’t seem to want to live like that now.

    • georgist says:

      See my comment above about bank lending multiples.

      • Chris Herbert says:

        80% of all bank lending is for property acquisition. Those who saved and were able to buy homes were alive at an opportune time. They ended up on the ‘receiving end’ of compound interest. Good job. Try doing it today.

        • georgist says:

          Exactly. Really those on here throwing anecdotes around about “working hard” are ignoring the macro data, and in doing so are implicitly saying “all young people are lazy”. The reality is they haven’t had the willpower to read up on finance and instead reluy on CNN tropes.
          They are actively assisting the Fed and bankers in suppressing push back.

        • Paul from NC says:

          I don’t know what time period you’re talking about – this “opportune time”? Yes, when interest rates were high (late 70’s early 80s), my grandparents came to the US, and were able to buy a modest house in the “ghetto” of Chicago on janitor salaries after working for a short while. This time will be upon us soon again, so all you young folks, hopefully you’ve been saving up, interest on savings can only go up from .01% right? I assume you’re prepared to make the same sacrifices the old janitors in the 70s/80s made?

          On the flip side, I was able to immigrate in the 90s, and on a high school education, while making $10/hour, purchase my first home (mortgage) in the early 2000s. It was too easy to get that loan, though obviously cost me an arm and a leg, still, my grandparents’ interest rate was something like 18%, and mine only 8%. For sure I was not alive at an “opportune” time as far as compound interest is concerned. Lived check to check for many many years, but valued home ownership much more than the “struggle” of paying it off. My story is not abnormal – young people are doing this every day in the US, and I’m not sure why yall aren’t seeing it? Maybe it’s a class divide thing?

          Now we’ve got interest rates at 2.something-3%. It’s never been cheaper to buy a home (as long as you’re not hyper focused on high cost of living areas). A 20something guy just bought a house down the street from me for 50K (2bd, 1bath, 950ish sq feet). There’s a slew of houses in my old town in SE WI going for 80K or less, assuming you’re willing to put in the same amount of work and sacrifice that the rest of us have had to.

  21. Crush the Peasants! says:

    Data obtained by survey and reported by the US government. OK, sure, Uh huh, you betcha,…..

  22. Half Bankrupt says:

    Companies are notorious for posting job openings they have no intention of filling.
    They do it to get a sense of the labor market: how many qualified people interested, salary expectations, etc
    As I write this my company has a posting for my team – and we laid off 2 people earlier this year. We didn’t know there was an “opening” for the team until a friend of mine at another company asked about it

    • Alku says:

      also they have to do it when filing for a H1B extension/green card for an existing employee

      • georgist says:

        This. You have to “prove,” you can’t get the skillet locally.

        • Alku says:

          georgit:

          No, what you are referring to is for hiring an H1B.

          While I was talking about an EXTENSION. Green card falls in the same category – since H1B duration is strictly limited, you have to either lay off or apply for a green card.

        • georgist says:

          I see, thx for the qualification, fair enough.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Those strategies are a constant. They’ve been around for as long as companies have been around. They don’t change. And so they cancel out when you look at changes.

  23. DR DOOM says:

    Tore out kitchen to the wall studs and sud-floor. Done all the work myself. Red oak floors to match the rest of the house.Started in Feb. I can go a long way in a long time. I am now hanging hickory cabinets I built over a 5 year period. My wife was promised her custom kitchen 20 years ago, then life happened. I did not put the gas line branch in for the new high dollar convection double oven / cooktop. Hired it out. Gave em’ the oven install requirements. Not even close and a leak. Did it myself in a pissed off mood. If you ever hear of something called auto flare , RUN. Oven was delivered and the installers did not drill pilot holes in the oak flooring for the anti-tip bracket. Let’s just say the China fasteners gave it up and the sheared ends were grinning at me. Then the oven did not work. They hauled it off and left me with my disappointed wife. Got another one 3 weeks later. It never got in the house. It was crushed on the top. We might get a shot at at a 3rd oven by the end of August. Do it yourself if you can. If not you will get reamed. No help for me in the 13million un-employed. I have had all the help I can stand.

    • Paulo says:

      DR,
      I was very pleased to hear about your project. There is no better feeling than looking around and seeing your own work. Thanks for sharing and may you and your wife enjoy every minute, and every meal that comes out of the new kitchen.

    • Chris Herbert says:

      I have heard that a lot of stuff is showing up damaged. I mean a lot of stuff. Is this real?

      • DR DOOM says:

        It be real Chris. My gas oven was not unique. The rep of the national franchised company told my wife and moi that they cannot fill their delivery and factory to warehouse truck driver positions. They hold their breath and use 3rd party carriers if they can find one. The 3rd party delivery is where most of the damage comes from. I am disappointed for my wife but I believe their explanation.

      • josap says:

        Our new stove/oven was just fine. This was just a few months ago.

  24. historicus says:

    The source of the money to pay these people to remain idle is partially from the Federal Reserve and entirely from Federal Reserve Policy that allows the money to be borrowed with almost no cost.
    If there was a real cost attached to goverment borrowing, how many problems would not exist?
    For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction…and the reactions are many, large, and coming.

    • p coyle says:

      if there were a real cost attached to government borrowing, we would have all the same problems with the additional problem of having to pay substantial interest on all that debt.

      • historicus says:

        “…having to pay substantial interest on all that debt…:

        Debt is a choice.
        And, what is “substantial” historically? Anything over zero? (ha)
        Fed Funds should be where they normally have been for seven decades prior to 2009…..equal to or in excess of inflation.

        People should avoid being in debt. Call me old fashioned.

  25. Swamp Creature says:

    I was flipping through the channels on Cable TV and briefly touched on CNBC’s Mad Money show. Jim Cramer was ranting about J Powell and his recent Fed actions to keep interest rates low and pump $120 billion into the money supply every month. The he said

    “Powell has done one heck of a job”

    He lamented that with the new Covid variant out there and the economy slowing down as a result, Powell was pulling up the slack, and that he should keep doing what he is doing and he said Powell will “keep doing one hell of a job”

    • historicus says:

      Sucking up. All these people have to walk the line of not criticizing those on whom they report and would do anything for a Q & A on their show.

      The Fed has done good work …. but they NEVER retire or retrieve that which they put in play. Their temporary fixes become perpetual. Never …it’s time for a correction, it’s time to take a hit…..always puppy dogs and balloons and cotton candy.

      Cycles and corrections are healthy. Central bankers have denied them for 12 years now…and excesses that would have been periodically flushed are pent up. Not good. IMO.

  26. sunny129 says:

    I read recently that even an income of 62K is nothing to crow about, in America thesedays considering expenses in healthcare and education. Don’t forget inflation, the indirect tax!

    So my question is how many, out of those 10.1 million jobs out there, provide real ‘meaningful’ living wages ?

    • OutsideTheBox says:

      A dozen

      Maybe……

      Also….any jobs created that quickly go away just as quickly.

      So poor wages but with poor longevity.

  27. George W says:

    30% of my DSP’s( Delivery service partner) drivers called out on Sunday…

    My DSP could only service 12 of their assigned 17 routes.
    Package counts are way down which make the call outs, odd to me.

    Route size have expanded exponentially, they have me driving all over the place. I am delivering to 3+ routes in one day.

    Unfortunately, recently, I have had to deliver too a lot of appt. complexes in SLC. Some things I have observed.
    Amazon locker, private appts hubs…During peak times Xmas etc its common to find locker completely full. Lockers notify you of the available slots small/medium/large etc for each package. There have been plenty of slots available in all the lockers I deliver too.

    Re-deliverying packages from the previous day… Since my route is the late/latest morning route, when I am asked to re-deliver a package I returned from the previous day, I know I am likely the only driver delivering to a 1000 plus room appt. complex.

    • George W says:

      I called driver support on Sunday which I never do as it is pointless.
      I was padding my hours as I was done two hours early.
      10+ minute wait time.

      Bezo’s may have got one thing right in that workers are inherently lazy.

      What Bezo’s didn’t get right is that inevitably all corporate management structures develop into a “good old boys” culture.
      Management has completely insulated and separated itself for the the process they are trying to manage.

      Replacing entire verticals is what is necessary to right the ship.

  28. John says:

    Augustus Frost, I agree with you but they will have to live in reality land and get out fantasy land. My wife and I have working always contract, part-time jobs. We don’t have high wages but not low either.

    We make currently make $1,175 on average a week net both our paychecks. We work between 100 to 110 hours a week combined. We never bought a house. We rent a house for $2,100 a month currently, have 2 kids but only 1 car. We managed to sock away with interest compounding on them, tax refunds for 19 years of our marriage, $460,000 in IRA’s, I-Bonds and CD’s. We don’t do risky stock market, equity, real estate, mutual fund, ETF type investments.

    We have always rented and will never buy a house, too much maintenance and costs plus we look really carefully what we do with our money. My wife is getting a 10% bonus next week which we add to our monthly savings and buy in the future maybe more I-bonds. People are too dependent on buying junk and getting in too alot of debt. They are all acting like spoiled brats. They need to be more responsible and grow up.

  29. John says:

    Sorry, should of cleaned my glasses, it is $1,775 net weekly for our 100 to 110 hours paycheck.

  30. RightNYer says:

    I think what we’re seeing here is the outrageous wealth inequality causing society to come apart at its seams.

    Studies have shown for many years that people’s happiness is not based on what they have in absolute terms, but what they have relative to everyone else. Meaning that people making $50k a year where the average income is $50k are happier than those making $100k a year where the average is $250k a year.

    For years, the Fed has printed money which has gone almost entirely to the top. All along, the argument was that asset inflation didn’t matter. The problem is, once the Fed expands the money supply, it loses control over where that money goes. There was never any guarantee that it would stay in the equity and bond market.

    Now it’s gone into commodities, housing, food, and all sorts of other things people NEED to survive. And people aren’t happy. They don’t necessarily know why, but, between rampant inflation and COVID weariness, the nation’s collective mood is souring, and souring quickly.

    As people have said before, it’s not going to end well.

    • Tony says:

      Yes, I sense the souring too. Fights in planes, airports, road rage,etc. The political divide doesn’t help either. One might need to play a little defense. I did just that. It was time to trade out of my expensive, high-profile German sedan (Mercedes E-Class with 175K miles). I replaced it with a Camry last month.

      • RightNYer says:

        I wasn’t able to put my finger on it, but you’re right. People seem to be more pissy in general.

        I think that America needs a divorce.

        • Random guy 62 says:

          Yeah, I am getting this sense too.

          Maybe it’s wealth gap divide, but I think the pandemic matters are weighing heavy on our collective mental health.

          For the past year I have felt my faith in humanity continually drop to new lows.

          No matter where I look, almost all I see is human arrogance on full display. It’s constantly raining BS.

          I might just be getting old and grumpy though. If this is how 34 feels, the next 30 years will be a treat.

    • zr says:

      I think you have described something that very few people are able to see and ray dalio beautifully put it into words. https://www[dot] linkedin[dot]com/pulse/money-credit-debt-ray-dalio/
      scroll all the way at the bottom. last picture.

    • drifterprof says:

      “Studies have shown for many years that people’s happiness is not based on what they have in absolute terms, but what they have relative to everyone else.”

      Yes that is very true in human nature. Comparison relative to not only material things, but status. For example the most poor, many oppressed individuals of one race or ethnicity can accept it and feel relatively good about life if they feel superior to some other group.

      A concrete example in my own life is one of my career switches, to the teaching profession after getting PhD. Although it was hard to believe, I learned a lot about the way of life in my first-full time teaching job at 2-year college (in Maryland). I couldn’t believe that part-timers were paid less for doing the same work, as well as not having ANY of the nice benefits of the full-timers. Not only that, the work environments in community colleges are often very closed systems with the long-term employees, to protect their positions, conniving to block people who are more dynamic and effective.

      I found out that community college systems had started hiring so many part-timers to save money, that a law had been made limiting part-timers to less than 50% of the staff. And the percentage of part-timers where I worked was 49%. I vowed then never to take a part-time job in education. I would rather work as a parking booth attendant and live in some dilapidated shack. I suspect that situations like above have developed in many areas of employment. Jobs being advertised may have that kind of inequality and may contribute to why a lot of people are saying effit to the work ethic.

      I understand Paulo’s emphasis on hard work, independent resourcefulness, and responsibility. I struggled though to retirement in the same way, although not nearly as successful as Paulo describes. However, I think many people do not even get a chance for that, or don’t have the family and cultural background to do what he describes.

    • historicus says:

      RightNYer

      Agree. The societal impacts of the “easy money” vs those who cant break even though working their a$$ off.
      Resentment is rife.
      “Honey, how much is the stock market up today?” in one house
      While in the other, people pour out of bed and put the nose to the grindstone….hope to break even.
      I think good investment should be rewarded….but it seems any investment has been guaranteed by artificial mechanism that steal from one group and give to another. SAVERS are punished, and intentionally by this Fed. That is UNAMERICAN, imo.
      The Occupy Wall St movement was a few blocks off…..the NY Fed should have been their focus.

    • Petunia says:

      RNY,

      The GFC didn’t affect everyone, but those affected saw the writing on the wall, a decade ago. They took care of the fat cats and gave the finger to everybody else.

      Now covid has exposed the cracks in the system to everybody. No matter how well off you are, you too can land up jobless, homeless, and broke. You are just one illness or job loss away, and they are still mostly only taking care of the fat cats. While everybody is screaming about extended unemployment to the worker bees, nobody is complaining about all the grants and forgivable loans to businesses. Money mostly wasted.

      The instability is coming from those who see complaining doesn’t work. Those in power only pay attention when the system is in jeopardy of not supporting them. And there are a growing number who are going to overturn the apple cart because they no longer have anything to lose.

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        Petunia-your last sentence is one that should make the blood of all those who believe ‘this time is different’-run cold…

        may we all find a better day.

  31. Swamp Creature says:

    I noticed a sign on the dental office where I just shelled out $8,000 for one dental implant, “Financing Available”. I would bet that some private financing company is making these loans and then bundling these loans into CDO’s securitizing all these loans like Bear Stearns used to do and selling them to Wall Street investors. So its nice to know that someone is getting rich over the interest earned from these securities.

  32. Willy says:

    Hey John, I never got married but living here in Canada working with my Uncle’s body shop not making alot of money but steady work. It is now 10 years and I am 34 years old. My paycheck is $1,200 every 2 weeks net of taxes, EI, CPP.I am very cautious with my paychecks and every 3 paychecks I save one. I like to call it the 3 to 1 rule.I have no credit cards, no debts, I pay cash and with debit everything. Now, 14 years later I have $159,000 in this way 35% in GIC’s, 35% in OSB’s, 10% in higher interest savings accounts, 20% in Canadian bank shares. They are mostly in RRSP’s, TFSA’s similar to your IRA’s, Roth IRA’s in the US.It looks like a 6.5% rate of return annually is what I have achieved over these 14 years.

    • Chris Herbert says:

      Interesting figures for an American to see. The difference? The after tax amount is small compared to US wages, but that’s because there are important social programs provided–like universal health care. These programs lessen the cost of many services and products. They do not reside on the P&L bookkeeping.

    • georgist says:

      If you’d got credit on a house the bank of Canada would have given you at least 300k in appreciation over the same period.

  33. TenGallonHat says:

    I’m 3/4 of the way through the comments and Wow! are there are some arrogant know-it-all’s in here.

    All the B00m3rs who pulled themselves up by the bootstraps are f/king HILARIOUS. Seething with rage. I say we triple the property tax on your rental homes. Pull up them bootstraps, buttercups!

    RightNYer knows what’s up—thanks for your contributions.

    • RightNYer says:

      Thanks TGH. Rather than triple the property tax on their rental homes, I’d rather cut them off from their Social Security and Medicare once my generation is in power. There’s no legal entitlement to it, and I’m not tired of hearing about how they “earned” it.

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        RNY-i’ve no doubt you’ll observe the same cutoff of sustenance rules following your election and later reach YOUR seniority…but remember your future is never certain-nor the future attitudes of your own children.

        may we all find a better day.

    • georgist says:

      Agreed, some aggressive stuff on here, all anecdotes not data based.
      The format of the forum ensures nearly all readers are going to be older, it’s old tech, no notifications, threading etc. So the demographic of the audience is skewed. Very similar to Gath Turner forum for Canada.
      The actual content, however, is good.

  34. breamrod says:

    real wages for the “working class” have been falling for awhile now it seems. In 1960 according to gov. figures the average factory wage in America was 6400.00. Nice 3 bedroom 2 bath homes in the Atlanta area were 18 to 24K depending on the area ( north or south). I would love to see if Wolf could post average salaries in different fields. Seems we need around 90K to equal that 6400.00

  35. John Landau says:

    Wolf, no one has even offered an explanation as to why new unemployment claims remain at roughly 400,000 every week, or almost twice what the average number of claims were in 2019. This a number that is separate from those of continuing claims, and those who report having quit their jobs or changed jobs. With such a large labor shortage, how can so many people be layed off every week? Is this simply a case of reporting fraud, or is some other process at work. Do you think it is true that 300,000-400,000 people are being let go from their jobs every week.

    None of the economic experts, as far as I know, have explained this bizarre phenomenon. Could you please be the first to do so?

  36. Tailwalk says:

    If I could be unemployed getting $8xx.00/week TAX FREE, plus not have to pay my rent, get food stamps and child care checks each month from the Feds, I would take it in a heart beat. Ask around and you’ll find dozens of stories of employers hiring 5-10 new hourly workers, have them show up to start, last 1-3 hours and then quit. Voila’, considered “still seeking employment” and will receive extended unemployment. Even healthcare is free at the emergency room. You’ll be treated but there are no consequences if you don’t care about your credit – or you simply use false identity.

  37. Hart Liss says:

    *sigh*
    FWIW, I’ve seen nothing that breaks down specifically what jobs are actually going unfilled or whatever.
    For example, saying the hospitality industry’s having trouble filling jobs: Are these management positions or the crap at the bottom that doesn’t pay close to a true living wage for full time work? From what little I can suss out, regardless of the sector, it’s the low paying shitty jobs (which are actually subsidized by our taxes, but that’s another matter).

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