Whats Up With the Labor Market?

I started doing some research for a new column involving the very low unemployment rate, why wages are lagging (Still), and what is being called full employment.

I am finding lots of things that are confusing, if not outright conflicted.

Consider these factoids:

3.6% U3 Unemployment rate is considered full employment — but wage gains have been soft.

Measures of pain — what percentage of people say they are in physical pain — are way up;

Suicides are on the rise, including for millenials;

Measures of life satisfaction and happiness are down;

I have many questions:

Are these things just coincidences?

Is there any data that connects them?

How does the spike in income and wealth inequality play into this?

Is there anything we can do about these issues?


For now, I have more questions than answers, but it is a fascinating topic worthy of broader exploration.


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