Comments on economics, mystery fiction, drama, and art.

Friday, September 06, 2013

One of the things that bothers me

Tyler Cowen posts this:
From Greg Mankiw:
John Lott points out the following: “So far this year there have been 848,000 new jobs. Of those, 813,000 are part time jobs…. To put it differently, an incredible 96% of the jobs added this year were part-time jobs.”

I  have already commented (briefly, in the preceeding post) on the relevance of this for current employment numbers.  But it's worth expanding on.  Consider, if you will, what one of the major, consistent differences between January and August is in the U.S. economy.  It's the presence in the labor force of a huge number of seasonal workers--students, out of school for the summer, and looking for work.  And why does this matter?  Well, since 1997, the average growth in the teenage labor force betwen January and August has been +16.8%, while the average percentage growth in the age 20 and over labor force, for the same January to August period is...-0.4%.  So where do we think employment growth is going to be?  It almost has to be concentrated among teenagers, doesn't it?  And, since many teens seek (or can find) only part-time employment, what would you expect to be the case about the change in part-time employment?   (Indicentally, over the 1948 to 2013 period, the teen labor force has grown by an average of 28% between January and August, and the adult labor force has declined by an average of 0.6%.)

So how would we describe someone who presumably knows (or ought to know) about these seasonal fluctuations in the labor force?  As a neutral economic analyst? Or as a hack?

(All data


Post a Comment

<< Home