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A line chart showing an ominous downward trend... what could it mean for software developers? Meant to be a featured image for a post.

June 17, 2024

The rise—and fall—of the software developer

Since the rise of the internet, software developers have commanded big salaries and valuable perks. But something has shifted since the pandemic.
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June 17, 2024

MainStreet Macro: Jobs aren’t everything

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

By several measures, the job market is starting to look like its pre-pandemic self. Openings are marching resolutely downward. Fewer people are quitting. Unemployment is still low. Recently, we learned that the labor market is generally doing pretty well in aggregate (see the ADP National Employment Report, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics household survey and establishment survey). But jobs aren’t the whole story, not by a long shot. Wages link the job market to inflation, and while hiring might be normalizing, pay patterns are changing dramatically.
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June 10, 2024

MainStreet Macro: AI and the global workforce

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

Artificial intelligence—heard of it? Of course, you have. In the past year, advanced AI has made its presence known on Main Street and worldwide. What we know as generative AI has been around in less-sophisticated forms for decades, but it only recently captured the public’s imagination with the release of inexpensive tools that create content on the fly. In our annual global survey, the ADP Research Institute asked nearly 35,000 private-sector workers in 18 countries how they felt about artificial intelligence. Here’s what they told us.
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June 3, 2024

MainStreet Macro: The elusive Goldilocks economy

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

When economists tell tales about the economy, it’s never about the Cinderella economy or the Snow White economy. It’s almost always the Goldilocks economy. Because that’s what economists want: Growth that’s not too fast and not too slow, where inflation is neither too hot nor too cold, and hiring isn’t too strong or too weak.
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May 20, 2024

MainStreet Macro: Staycation, road trip, or none of the above?

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season in the United States, but with consumers looking downbeat recently, the question is whether they’ll be hitting the road in force like they did last year. How people spend their time off this year–be it binge-watching Netflix from the couch or flying to Hawaii–can tell us a lot about how the economy will perform in 2024.
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May 13, 2024

MainStreet Macro: Are consumers still all right? An update

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

Last week, a measure of consumer sentiment showed that people are more downbeat about their current and future economic well-being than they were a month ago. With the stock market reaching new highs in May, gas prices falling, and unemployment below 4 percent for the longest time since the 1960s, this gloomy shift is puzzling.
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May 6, 2024

MainStreet Macro: What the pay gap says about inflation

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

One of the puzzles of today’s economy is inflation: Why isn’t it falling as fast as economists or the Federal Reserve expected? Inflation has slowed a lot over the past year, but recently it has stubbornly defied expectations of further declines.
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April 29, 2024

MainStreet Macro: Curious about the economy? So are these kids

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

In my experience, kids ask the best questions. So for this, the 150th issue of MainStreet Macro, I took advantage of ADP’s Take Your Kids to Work Day to invite three young friends to talk about the economy. Here’s what was on their minds.
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April 15, 2024

MainStreet Macro: All that glitters

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

Last week’s hotter-than-expected inflation report surprised and rattled investors. The Consumer Price Index accelerated by 0.4 percent in March from the previous month. After a months-long slowdown, price increases in February and March reached their highest level since September and put the annual rate of inflation at 3.5 percent, firmly out of reach of the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target.
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