Today's lackluster employment report shows that despite substantial job market improvements over the last year or so, the Federal Reserve should not yet start raising interest rates to prevent the economy from overheating and producing unacceptable inflation. There's still too much labor market "slack" for the Fed to shift its chief concern to the risk of too much inflation.
Job creation is proceeding at a good pace, and unemployment and underemployment are falling, but wage growth has been anemic and far from what would indicate an overheating economy. That means the Federal Reserve should stay patient and let the labor market continue to heal before starting to raise interest rates.
We're all aware of income inequality and the need for initiatives to address common societal issues. Yet we don't often hear about whether programs meant to help people really solve the problems at hand, because few steps are taken to actually assess the outcomes, leaving evaluation of the initiatives to little more than a gut feeling.
Today's strong jobs report shows continuing labor-market improvement but also continuing significant "slack" -- people who are not working but want to be, or people who want to work full-time but can only find part-time jobs. Prominent among those struggling to find work are the roughly three in 10 jobless workers who've been looking for a job for 27 weeks or longer.