I just read John Maudlin’s letter on the latest unemployment report and his parsing of it.
It was a well thought out and pretty standard report on the numbers and hammered home the demographic situation that I have been pounding the table about since 2010. Once again METAR is a decade ahead.
He did have an interesting blurb about where in the labor force the jobs appeared. Three note worthy mentions. The jobs mostly increased for men over 45, most of the new employment had no high school education, and the job gains were so high among men over 45 that there were job losses in the other demographics.
Other than those three things, it was a pretty boring letter. But it leaves me with a sense that something is missing. Overtime. I am not seeing a mention of overtime. A man making 30 dollars an hour will typically be paired with a woman (doing similar work) making 20 dollars an hour. Once everything is added up, that women’s addition to the household wealth would be half or less of that 40k a year, or maybe 20k per year for all her work. The man can make that with 10 hours of overtime a week.
In my work group we are seeing overtime be clamped down on. I am seeing construction crews working shorter days and shorter weeks. While this overtime has taken a lot of partners out of the work force because it did not make economic sense, we may not see those partners return as households may find the time more valuable than the money. Or not. We might see a large increase in available work force as overtime drops off.
I believe this metric should be watched more closely than it is.