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July's Employment Situation

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 209,000 in July with food services and drinking places, professional and business services, and healthcare seeing the largest sector gains.  The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.3 percent.

Are Economists Underestimating the Labor Force Participation Rate?

 A recent Boston Fed working paper by Anat Bracha and Mary A. Burke titled “Who Counts as Employed? Informal Work, Employment Status, and Labor Market Slack” considers whether nonstandard work arrangements (aka the “Gig Economy”) are being accurately represented in the official BLS measures, and offers ways to improve their accuracy.

May's Employment Situation

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 138,000 in May but the unemployment rate was little changed.

Does a Change in Immigration Affect the Unemployment Rate?

Guillaume Vandenbroucke and Heting Zhu assess the connection between immigration and unemployment using state-level data between 2000 and 2005.

Long-Term Unemployment: Attached and Mismatched?

Long-term unemployment is often blamed on a mismatch between a worker’s skills and the skills demanded from a potential employer. However, in his working paper “Long-Term Unemployment: Attached and Mismatched?” David Wiczer introduced a model to measure how changes in specific industries affect unemployment for workers in those occupations.

How Does Networking Affect Your Job Search?

Professionals build networks to enhance their careers, often with the goal of gaining better access to new job opportunities. These benefits seem obvious, but economic research can provide deeper insight into how a job seeker’s network affects the speed and quality of job offers.

March Means Employment Data Revisions

Why are St. Louis employment numbers revised every March?

Eighth District Beige Book Update: March 2017

Find out how the Eighth District economy is doing! The March update of the Beige Book includes updates on employment, consumer spending, construction activity, and manufacturing activity.

Is Local Unemployment Related to Local Housing Prices?

The U.S. national labor market has recovered from the effects of the 2007-2009 recession; however, despite the national labor market recovery, significant regional variation remains. Recent economic research highlights links between regional labor and housing markets.

Who Was Hit Hardest by the Great Recession?

Long-term unemployment (LTU) is defined as continuous unemployment for 6 months or more. Alexander Monge-Naranjo and Faisal Sohail examined LTU for different age and gender groups before and after the Great Recession.

Eighth District Beige Book Update

Reports suggest that economic conditions have improved slightly: Employers have had difficulty finding qualified candidates to fill positions, and retailers note that consumer spending has improved modestly since our previous report.  

Convergence in Productivity, R&D Intensity, and Technology Adoption

In the essay “Convergence in Productivity, R&D Intensity, and Technology Adoption,” Ana Maria Santacreu analyzes the role of research and technology adoption in achieving economic growth. 

June's Employment Situation

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 222,000 in June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Industry Spotlight: Aviation

Airline stock prices, changes to the c-suite for major carriers, and union negotiations are often featured in nightly business reports. The reason? The aviation industry is tied to many aspects of the overall economy, particularly employment and GDP. 

Who'd Be Most Affected by a Local Minimum Wage?

Charles Gascon and James D. Eubanks examined the impact of a citywide minimum wage and found that it would affect residents across the income spectrum and throughout the entire metropolitan area.

Are Sports Stadiums a Catalyst for Economic Development?

Government subsidies for sports stadiums are a hot topic for cities with professional teams. Scott Wolla recently analyzed what economists have found when studying the economics of sports stadiums and discovered that most economists do not support subsidizing professional sports stadiums.

Timely Topics: Chinese Imports, U.S. Jobs

In this podcast, economist Max Dvorkin talks about his research into the impact of Chinese imports on U.S. jobs during the period 2000-07, a time when those imports were surging. In all, 800,000 manufacturing jobs in the U.S. were lost because of these imports, Dvorkin found. On the flip side, a like number of jobs were created in different sectors. In addition, the cheaper imports led to an increase in buying power of $260 a year on average for every American—for life, he calculated. Who won? Who lost? What’s left to learn? Listen to the 14-minute podcast.

Eighth District Beige Book Update: May 2017

In May, the Eighth District reported robust activity in commercial construction, increased manufacturing activity, and deteriorating agricultural conditions.

Where is the Slack in the Labor Market?

The St. Louis Fed researches many aspects of the economy, including labor markets. An essay from 2014 showed that hours worked in the construction sector hadn’t recovered from the Great Recession and was a main cause of slack in the overall labor market. New data from FRED show that the construction sector may be rebounding.

Which Middle-Skill Jobs Require More Education?

Researchers at the Federal Reserve Banks in Philadelphia and Atlanta analyzed online job ads for 4 middle-skill occupations to determine what trends in college degree requests were present and to explore how characteristics of different metropolitan areas affected a prospective employer’s degree requests.

April's Employment Situation

On May 5, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate remained at 4.4%, and total nonfarm payroll increased by 211,000.

The Connection Between High Unemployment and Disability Insurance

Why do counties with persistently high unemployment also have high rates of disability recipients?

Are Unemployment Data Revisions Biased?

Employment data can be revised multiple times, but the Fed often sets policy using the initial release data.

Making Sense of Unemployment Data

Job growth has been healthy for five years. However, many people still express concern over the health of the overall labor market. For example, Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, states that the “official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.” He proposes the Gallup Good Jobs rate as a better indicator of the health of the labor market. At the heart of Clifton and others’ concern is what the official unemployment rate actually measures and whether it is a reliable indicator.

March's Employment Situation

On April 7, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate declined 0.2 percentage points to 4.5 percent in March. 

Employment Focus: Coal Mining Jobs

Coal mining receives a great deal of attention but accounts for a small percentage of the U.S. labor force. Why?

February's Employment Data

March 10, 2017: The BLS reported that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 235,000 in February, with the largest gains in construction, private educational services, manufacturing, health care, and mining. The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.7 percent, but was down from 4.9 percent in February 2016. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.8 million. The labor force participation rate also showed little change. The full report is available here.

Eighth District Beige Book Update - February 2017

Employment increased modestly in February, according to the Beige Book. See what business contacts across industries are saying and get an overview of economic conditions in the District.

January's Employment Situation

Feb. 3, 2017: The BLS reported that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 227,000 in January, with job gains in retail trade, construction, and financial activities. The number of long-term unemployed (jobless for 27+ weeks) remained around 1.9 million. Since January 2016, that number has declined by 244,000. Labor force participation rose by 0.2% and total employment rose by 457,000 over the month. The full report is available here.

Employment Research Glossary

A glossary of terms used on this site.

Safe Occupations are Growing

This essay explores the changing workforce structure and the growth of “safer” occupations—that is, occupations with relatively more physically healthy workers.

Have Labor Costs Affected the Recovery?

Labor costs after 2009 grew more slowly than labor costs after 2001.

Duration Dependence and Composition in Unemployment Skills

Labor markets have improved since the Great Recession, but the average duration of unemployment, which is an indicator of labor market health, remains high. Authors James Eubanks and David Wiczer set out to discovery why this is happening.

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