IT’S NOT JUST THE NUMBER OF JOBS: Questions About The Quality Of Jobs Being Created.
One word is polarization. That word appeared in the minutes of the most recent meeting of the Federal Reserve‘s monetary policy setting Federal Open Market Committee. The meeting, where the Fed decided it had to ease policy more to help the stubborn unemployment problem, took place Sept. 12-13. The minutes were released Thursday.
“It was also suggested that there was an ongoing process of polarization in the labor market, with the share of job opportunities in middle-skill occupations continuing to decline while the shares of low and high skill occupations increased.”
That’s the quote from the Fed minutes, in the context of the policymakers’ discussion and debate of slack in the jobs arena. Ultimately, of course, the Fed decided to aggressively ease, though some observers have questioned the central bank’s ability to significantly influence hiring through a bond-buying regime.
Presumably, monetary policy isn’t designed to affect polarization. Long-term issues about public education, access to higher education, tax policy, start-up incentives, trade issues and more help determine what sorts of jobs are created and who is qualified to fill them.
The other phrase of interest Friday is part time. Analysts and others poring over the September jobs data, which showed a rise in total employment by 873,000, according to the Labor Department’s survey of households, have noted a big increase in part-time positions among those who would prefer full-time employment.
Based on Labor data, there were some 582,000 new part-time jobs created that are included in the Labor category of “part time for economic reasons.”
How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya?