Stevenson and Wolfers discuss latest jobs report

April 4, 2022

The labor market is still booming, according to the latest jobs report. Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson, both professors of public policy and economics, broke down what the jobs report means for Americans.

"I do think it more likely that the bad news on inflation is more transitory than the good news on jobs," Wolfers said to CNN. "And if you went back two years ago and offered me the choice of whether to risk somewhat overheating the economy, as we did this time, or undershooting and creating a long, slow, tepid recovery, as we did in 2008, I would have chosen the risk of overheating."

Stevenson pointed out that if the labor market slows down, there could be issues.

"My biggest concern is if the pace of hiring slows and the wage gains continue," Stevenson also told CNN.

But, for now, Stevenson said that the jobs report showed only signs of improvement.

"I think it’s great news and even great news for the Fed. What they want to see is that people are going back to work, that they’re getting hired without too much wage pressure," Stevenson said on Bloomberg. "If what we saw were fewer jobs being added but wages increasing, we’d be a lot more worried because we wouldn’t see the kind of expansion that we’re hoping for."

Wolfers also assured Americans that, right now, there's no need to worry. 

“I’ve had folks in the media calling me all week about whether the U.S. economy is headed for a recession,” Wolfers tweeted and Fortune quoted. “Umm…we’re creating around half a million jobs per month, and monetary policy is still expansionary. No, this is not recessionary. At all.”

Still, with prices rising, some are worried about inflation. Wolfers told AP News how President Biden should shut those concerns down. 

"Were I Biden, I’d be using some version of a ‘better off than you were four years ago," he said. "How do you feel now? That would be the argument."

Read the news items featuring Wolfers and Stevenson: