What's the best way to predict where the economy is headed?

Jul 20, 2023
Some question the predictive powers of the The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index, a past predictor of recessions.
While investors may be closely watching The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index, economists caution it may not be as predictive as it once was.
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What the Fed wants to see in the next jobs report

Jul 4, 2023
To not be so stubbornly good? "We still see the labor market running very hot,” one economist says.
Fed policymakers use data from household surveys, financial markets, professional forecasters and the labor market to set interest rates, says Rice University economist Zach Bethune.
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Three years after the pandemic recession, signing up for unemployment still isn't easy

Jun 26, 2023
States are upgrading IT and accessibility to unemployment insurance, but it's a long hard road.
Despite an uptick in federal funding, most states are not prepared for a significant spike in unemployment, said labor economist Steve Wandner.
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Is the U.S. economy really a tale of two job markets?

The "dual labor market" theory paints a picture of two very different job markets in terms of stability, pay, and mobility.
The unemployment rate is at a half-century low, yet many workers are unable to escape poorly paid, precarious jobs. One reason could be that the U.S. job market has evolved into two distinct labor markets—a dual labor market--and workers in each section experience very different economies.
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Fading job prospects discourage younger Chinese workers

May 17, 2023
China's job market remains competitive as the economy recovers from zero-COVID. But some young people have lost their eagerness to compete.
Students at a job fair in Beijing last year. Unemployment among graduates has remained stubbornly high even though China has dismantled its zero-COVID policy.
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Jobless claims are up, but unemployment is still low. What does that mean?

May 11, 2023
The four-week moving average of unemployment benefits claims is at the highest level since late 2021. Is this more evidence of a slowly cooling economy?
The four-week moving average of unemployment insurance claims is the highest it’s been since late 2021.
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Is the 'blunt tool' of monetary policy actually just a dull tool?

Apr 7, 2023
Fed rate hikes are kinda starting to slow down the labor market, but unemployment is still very low, and the economy isn't reacting as experts expected.
The unemployment rate is historically low at 3.5%. Increase in travel, boomer retirements and long COVID have kept labor demand high and supply scarce.
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Laid-off workers are leaving unemployment benefits on the table

Apr 6, 2023
A lot of them don't even know they're eligible.
The University of Michigan's Luke Shaefer calls unemployment benefits “the most arcane and complicated” government program.
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The class of 2023 is graduating into a challenging job market

Apr 5, 2023
The jobless rate for young workers has jumped since late 2021 and loan repayment is back on the table. Soon-to-be grads are scrambling.
New grads are entering a tougher hiring environment than last year's class. "There are jobs," says Wall Street Journal reporter Lindsay Ellis, but "it is a longer journey than many soon-to-be college grads would like."
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How low unemployment lifts workers at the bottom

Mar 29, 2023
In "Moving the Needle: What Tight Labor Markets Do for the Poor," authors Newman and Jacobs advocate letting tight labor markets stay that way.
"When unemployment goes below about 4.5%, folks who've been out of work find work and keep work," said author Elisabeth Jacobs.
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