Now: Economic Skepticism

United States employers added 138,000 jobs in May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Although this is only a bit down from April, there are two significant warning signs to pay attention to: 

1. The labor force shrank by more than 400,000 people in May.
2. Earnings growth has plateaued at 2.5 percent per year after having risen last year.

A reasonable explanation for the shrinking labor force mentions the retirement of baby boomers. But, economists find the trend in earnings to be worrisome. 

The figure above illustrates the trend, specifically the lack of growth in recent years. Economists understand that as workers earn less, they spend less. Earnings that have leveled off do little to stimulate consumption and the economy, as a result. 

Bottom line: Don't start squirreling away money in your mattress just yet, but be sure to keep a watchful eye on the functioning of the economy through the summer. 


Anna Graff


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