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Michael D. Farren

Articles by Michael D. Farren

Yet More Good News for American Workers

17 days ago

The monthly BLS jobs report released today was one more piece of good news in a long trend—the longest ever—of uplifting labor market statistics. The breakneck jobs growth of 2018 (with 225,000 jobs added per month on average) has slowed to a more moderate pace in 2019 (165,000 jobs added per month on average so far), but is still rising about twice as fast as needed to simply satisfy population growth.
Employers added 164,000 jobs in July, with most of the growth occurring in education and health services (50,000) and professional and business services (38,000). The headline unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent, but the labor force participation rate rose slightly to 63.0 percent as more workers entered the labor market. Average hourly wage growth also held steady at a rate of 3.2

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Quotable Quotes: Targeted Economic Development Subsidies Don’t Create Economic Growth

28 days ago

“You have to spend money to make money” is a common justification for economic development subsidies. Politicians and paid consultants argue that targeted economic development subsidies (TEDS) are a necessary investment in economic growth, but the academic research shows they rarely lead to widespread economic or community improvements.
Furthermore, TEDS have little to no influence on where a business chooses to locate or expand. Most economic development subsidies just don’t work.
Misspending of public resources on TEDS means that we miss out on real opportunities to assist economic growth, like by investing in public goods and critical public services or decreasing tax rates for all taxpayers. A business-friendly political environment and investment in local amenities, such as public

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US Economy Sprints Through the Finish Line

July 5, 2019

America received a belated birthday present, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that 224,000 jobs were added to the economy last month. This extended the longest continuous period of employment growth to match the now-longest period of economic expansion in U.S. history.
The headline unemployment rate marginally increased to 3.7 percent, and the comprehensive jobless rate—the highest that anyone can claim the “true” unemployment rate really is—slightly increased to 6.7 percent. But most economic statistics did not appreciably change from May’s jobs report.
This good news comes in spite of the recent signs of economic skittishness from President Trump’s trade wars. While some think tariffs stimulate American job growth by making products manufactured in foreign countries more

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Smooth Economic Sailing Hits Headwinds

June 7, 2019

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that businesses only created 75,000 new jobs in May, a far cry from April’s boisterous numbers. Furthermore, March and April’s employment gains were revised downward by 75,000 with the addition of new information. It’s possible that American businesses are finally having trouble sailing into the headwinds caused by President Trump’s trade wars.
That said, there were a few bright spots amidst the gathering clouds. The unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent, a 50-year low. The comprehensive jobless rate—the highest that anyone can claim the “true” unemployment rate really is, also held steady at its lowest-ever value, 6.5 percent. And the number of people working part-time (for economic reasons) but wanting full-time employment fell by 299,000, an

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Springtime Surge in Jobs Growth

May 3, 2019

The average monthly job growth in the first four months of 2019 (205,000 per month) has been equivalent to the average monthly increase since employment growth restarted in earnest after the Great Recession (204,400 per month since January 2011, when steady and strong job growth began), suggesting that there’s little worry that the economy is slowing down after the financial market correction last fall. Meanwhile, the headline unemployment rate hit a nearly 50-year low at 3.6 percent—the number of unemployed active job-seekers fell by 387,000 (a 6.2 percent decline).
After an unexpectedly sharp dip in jobs growth in February (attributed in part to the federal government shutdown and winter storms), the labor market sprung back in March and April. The Bureau of Labor Statistics

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