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Global Imbalances: Now More China's Problem than Ours

Angry Bear Reminds Us of Ben Bernanke's View

Ben Bernanke says: look at the employment-to-population ratio as well as the unemployment rate:

Angry Bear: Dean also notes that Ben Bernanke also gets it:

However, my sense is that, when one looks at the full range of information available, the labor market looks (if anything) weaker than a 6 percent unemployment rate suggests. For example, it appears that workers who have lost their jobs in the past couple of years have been more likely to withdraw from the labor force (rather than report themselves as unemployed) than were job losers in previous recessions. Indeed, the labor force participation rate fell sharply between 2000 and 2003, from a little over 67 percent to about 66-1/4 percent. Similarly, the ratio of employment to the working-age population, a statistic that reflects both those who become unemployed and those who leave the labor force, has fallen significantly, by 2.8 percentage points between its peak in April 2000 and its trough this past September. The tendency of recent job losers to leave the labor force likely masks some of the effects of job cuts on the unemployment rate, so that the current measured level of unemployment may understate the extent of job loss or the difficulty of finding new work. Of course, a labor market that is slack and improving only slowly is likely to produce continued slow growth in nominal wages, contributing to continued moderate growth in costs...

This means that the Bernanke-led Fed doesn't think the labor market is as tight as the consensus does.