Improving, Ever So Slowly


Free Exchange glances at this week's job numbers:

Even as production grows, firms are slashing jobs, wringing more out of fewer workers. Hours worked declined as well, a bad sign for recovery in labour markets. In the manufacturing sector, productivity was up 13.6%. "It’s a favorable environment for profits," deadpanned Barclays Capital's Dean Maki. That's a pretty stunning number. It suggests growth will have to be a lot faster to begin creating jobs, and it indicates, once more, that inflation poses absolutely no threat to the economy. It's a perfect time for a more aggressive approach to monetary policy, and I wouldn't be surprised if this contributed to enthusiasm for measures that subsidise hiring.