Stevenson breaks down latest jobs report data

December 5, 2022

In addition to providing BLS Monthly Jobs Report Rapid Insights, Betsey Stevenson, professor of economics and public policy, has lent her expertise to numerous media outlets to break down the latest jobs report. Here's what she had to say about the data. 

Here’s where the jobs are for November 2022 — in one chartCNBC, December 2, 2022

"If you look at where the job growth was in this report, 170,000 of those jobs were in two sectors, sectors where we need people: education and health services, which has barely recovered back to its pre-pandemic level, and leisure and hospitality, which has not recovered back to anywhere near its pre-pandemic level of employment. So we’ve got some sectors that are still in recovery, and other sectors I think that got ahead of their skis."

Fed fears ‘slamming the brakes on harder’ on rate hikes, professor saysYahoo! Finance, December 2, 2022

"It could be that the layoffs just hadn't hit the data by the time they were out there in the second week in November measuring it. It could be that layoffs are happening on the one hand and on the other hand, there are parts of the information sector that are continuing to expand. I'm definitely going to be taking—spending some time looking at that data to see, do we see slowdowns there? I think there are other sectors where—ADP reported a slowdown and a loss of jobs in manufacturing, that wouldn't surprise me at all. It was sort of what I was expecting. And yet in this report, we saw growth in manufacturing. So I think the big question is, did we sort of just get lucky and everything sort of bounced in a positive job growth way, or is this a sign that the labor market really is hotter than some of those other indicators are suggesting?"

Tech industry hit with massive layoffs as other employers add jobsPBS NewsHour, December 2, 2022

"When the pandemic began, technology was our savior. We turned to technology to be able to work from home, to be able to shop from home, to be able to talk to our doctors from home. But I do think that it's run its course in terms of that growth. And the fact that is resulting in the tech sector having layoffs, to me, symbolizes that we've reached the end of this pandemic era."

Employers are hiring brisklyAP via AVPress, December 3, 2022

"Employers continue to be worried that it’s going to be harder to hire tomorrow than today, so that actually suggests they don’t see a recession on the horizon."

According to at least one statistic, the job market seems to be coolingNPR Marketplace, December 5, 2022

"So are all industries growing? Or are only a few industries growing? More industries than normal were hiring, so the gains were happening in a much more diffuse way. That’s why we call it a diffusion index."

The Tale of 2 Economies: Why some Labor Markets had Fast and Slow Recoveries, NPR All Things Considered, December 6, 2022

"You know, I'm an optimist. And I think that what we are learning is everything the government did to support workers during the pandemic—even conceding that that might havep contributed somewhat to the inflation we're experiencing—I think still ultimately left us with a stronger economy because people have gone back to work. And I think we're going to continue to see very high rates of employment. I think we're still going to continue to see very low rates of unemployment, even if they go up a little bit. And I think we're going to see some continued adjustment, probably away from the goods-producing sector and towards the service sector as we bring back health care workers, restaurant workers, hotel workers."

Long Covid is distorting the labor market — and that’s bad for the U.S. economy, CNBC, December 8, 2022

Long Covid “is certainly wind blowing in the other direction” of economic growth." 

But the labor gap is just the “tip of the iceberg,” said Stevenson at the University of Michigan. There are all sorts of unknowns relative to the economic impact of long Covid, such as effects on worker productivity, the types of jobs they can do, and how long the illness persists, she said.

Why the jobs boom could worsen inflation and help trigger a recession, ABC News, December 9, 2022

"It's confusing for people and rightfully so. How can a lot of jobs be bad for the economy?... I don't think anybody out there would tell you the main reason we have inflation today is businesses trying to chase too few workers....If there are a lot of jobs and people are taking those jobs and the economy is growing, that's not bad. What's bad is if employers want to hire people and can't find people. We could start to see a lot of inflation generated by businesses trying to chase too few workers."