FEATURED POST

March 6, 2023

MainStreet Macro: The goods on goods

We all know by now that the labor market is tight. But it’s also fragmented, with different sectors responding differently to labor shortages and higher interest rates. As Main Street employers scout for workers, for example, big tech companies continue to announce big layoffs.
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MainStreet Macro: Off the clock

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

Whether they’re at the office, on site, or at home, the hours people put in at work are all important, to both them and their employers. Employers use the number of hours worked as a lever to control the quantity of output their employees deliver. And hours worked are a key input when it comes to analyzing the labor market. They’re a consequential determinant of wages, profits, inflation, and the productive power of the economy.
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MainStreet Macro: Unseasonable warmth

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

I live in the Northeast, where February has brought unseasonably warm weather. The mild temperature reminds me of the U.S. economy, which is much warmer than many economists and analysts expected it would be at this point in time.
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MainStreet Macro: Back to basics

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

With inflation, Silicon Valley layoffs and the federal debt ceiling dominating economic headlines, the real economy can get lost. Today, to mark the 100th edition of MainStreet Macro, I thought we’d get back to basics. Let’s start with a reminder of why Main Street is the economy’s growth engine.
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MainStreet Macro: Deciphering January data

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

The start of the year often brings confusing economic data, and this January was no exception. Extreme weather across most of the U.S. muddled the picture even more. Here’s a guide to making sense of last month’s numbers.
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MainStreet Macro: Nela’s Recession Playbook

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

The biggest economic debate of 2023 is whether the U.S. is heading toward a recession. And the reason it’s being debated is because the data shows evidence for both sides. In the no-recession camp, the economy grew by 2.9 percent last quarter, besting analysts estimates, and inflation slowed for the second straight month in December. And while we’ve seen big headlines on corporate layoffs, these job losses aren’t yet reflected in the data. Jobless claims for the first three weeks of January were near record lows.
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MainStreet Macro: Shaking off the gloom in Davos

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

The annual World Economic Forum gathering in the mountainside retreat of Davos, Switzerland, is most commonly described with a single word: elite. After attending the meetings last week, I’d like to offer three more words that perhaps more constructively capture the ethos of Davos this year: Optimism, dealmaking, and hope.
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MainStreet Macro: Minimum wages are rising. But is it enough?

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

Last week, data for December showed that the rate of inflation had fallen to 6.5 percent from 7.1 percent a year earlier. The decline was driven mainly by a steep drop in gas prices. While overall inflation might (thankfully) be losing steam, workers, especially those with smaller paychecks, continue to suffer an erosion of the pay gains they reaped during 2022’s tight labor market.
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MainStreet Macro: Five Global Trends Reshaping the World of Work

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

As we welcome 2023, the global economy is in a precarious place, with the growth outlook likely to slow for a second straight year in 2023. In addition to global growth, there are other trends that could be as important, if not more important, to the economy this year and in years ahead. As you plan for the new year, keep in mind these five global growth trends that are reshaping the world of work.
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