Authored by PERC staff, the PERC Blog focuses on policy issues including economic trends, fiscal policy, Social Security and Medicare entitlement programs, income inequality and Federal Reserve policy.

Weathering the Storm

Posted: May 12, 2022 by Somali Ghosh Sinha, Dennis W. Jansen, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
Retirees and near-term retirees have taken a financial hit since the start of the year. From the end of 2021 to the present, equity index funds are down 16% and bond index funds are down almost 13%. In addition, traditional defined benefit pension plans – especially those that do not have cost of living provisions – are worth less as...
Tags: Economic Trends, Labor

Employment Rebound Across the States: A Red and Blue Story

Posted: January 19, 2022 by Dennis W. Jansen, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
Employment is still recovering from the pandemic-induced recession.  There were 3.6 million fewer workers nationally in December than at the pre-pandemic peak in February 2020. Nationwide, employment fell almost 15% between February and April 2020 and since then it has grown  every month except for December 2020.  As of December 2...
Tags: Labor

Wages and Prices in 2021 – Looks Like Old Keynesian Policy

Posted: January 18, 2022 by Dennis W. Jansen
Wages were up in 2021.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that average hourly earnings of all employees in the private sector increased on a seasonally adjusted basis from $29.91 in December 2020 to $31.31 in December, an increase of 4.7% year-over-year.  This seems like great news for workers. Workers, howeve...
Tags: Economic Trends, Labor

The Great Resignation? No, The Great Worker Churn

Posted: January 10, 2022 by Dennis W. Jansen
‘The Great Resignation’ is all over the news.  Millions of Americans are quitting their jobs – 4.5 million in November.  A record number, and a phenomenon that needs to be explained.  Most commentators mention pay, but we also read about burnout, concerns about management and opportunities for advancement.  ...
Tags: Economic Trends, Labor

The Great Resignation?

Posted: November 04, 2021 by Dennis W. Jansen, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
In recent weeks we have seen a rash of articles focused on the rise in workers quitting their jobs. As seen int the figure below, more than 4 million workers quit their jobs in both July and August. Why are so many people leaving their jobs? The explanations given range from burnout to a realization that there is more to life than work. These ex...
Tags: Labor

Labor Market Entry Restrictions and Crony Capitalism

Posted: October 22, 2021 by Dennis W. Jansen, Liqun Liu, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
Many years ago, Adam Smith famously wrote, “[p]eople of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” This quote is often used to warn of the evil tendency of those involved in the world of business to collu...
Tags: Labor

This Time College Station-Bryan is not Different: the Current Recession

Posted: June 17, 2021 by Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
During a recession we expect to see employment decline, the jobless rate go up, the total wage bill shrink, and the overall consumption level contract. However, the impact of a recession varies across regions and metropolitan areas. Here we examine how employment, unemployment, and total wages changed during the last three recessions.  Thes...
Tags: Economic Trends, Labor

Employment, Hours and Earnings

Posted: May 13, 2021 by Dennis W. Jansen, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
Between March and April, nonfarm employment rose by 266,000. April’s employment was down 5.4% from its pre-pandemic high in February of 2020. The figure below tracks nonfarm employment, total private sector employment and employment in the Leisure and Hospitality industry. Relative to their respective pre-pandemic highs, total private empl...
Tags: Economic Trends, Labor

What’s The Beef? Economic Theory meets Antitrust Lawsuits During a Pandemic

Posted: June 25, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Liqun Liu, Andrew J. Rettenmaier
“Grocers File Lawsuit Against Meatpackers for Violating the Sherman Act!”[1]  Plaintiffs claim that meatpackers conspired to limit the supply of and fix the prices of beef sold to Central Grocers and others in the U.S. wholesale market.  This is one of many such cases that claim...
Tags: Labor

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