The Workweek: Jan. 31, 2017

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(CC) deVos / Flickr.
Jan. 31, 2017

The Workweek picks this week include an article from the Wall Street Journal about Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen and the current state of the labor market which has made a net gain of about 15.5 million jobs since the depths of the Great Recession. The Atlanta Fed’s Wage Growth Tracker shows paychecks for the average worker are getting just a bit fatter with the typical wage increase for a US worker in 2016 at about 3.5% — up from 3.1% in 2015. The New York Times examines why so many women are leaving the labor force, and how their reasons differ from those of men. And, an article in Bloomberg explores how the boom and bust cycles of oil and housing, two industries that typically compete for workers, have by chance typically been far enough out of sync to avoid stepping on each other’s toes in the labor market — however, there is a possibility this may soon change.

Lastly, the years after the Great Recession were often dubbed a jobless recovery. Most economic indicators bounced back rather quickly from the financial crisis, leaving crisp V-shaped charts on computer monitors across the country indicating a quick return to normal levels. However, the labor market had a dreadful U-shape, meaning that overall employment took several years to slowly revive itself. Bloomberg’s Noah Smith highlights some recent research that investigates why the US is the only developed country that has been experiencing this phenomena for three decades, discusses possible solutions, and raises one important question: is this strictly a bad thing?

The Workweek is a weekly roundup written mostly by’s chief economist Jed Kolko that highlights the latest research, news, and perspectives around the labor market. In addition to working with Indeed, Jed also pulled together all the research and data for the Shift Commission.