Jan. 20, 2022

Where Is Jack's Coffee?

So, my friend Jack heads down to his favorite fast food place, for breakfast. A cup of coffee, and one of those breakfast sandwiches.

It's 9 o'clock, and normally the shop has been open for a couple of hours by now. Jack goes in a little later to avoid the rush.

But there's no rush today. In fact, the fast food place isn't even open. A lady at the window explains that the workers haven't shown up for work. And she's not sure when, or if, they're coming in.

A little disappointing for Jack. He'll have to go elsewhere for that cup of Joe.

But it's something that keeps happening around the country. And the collective impact of all this is bound to add up.

And this is a part of the economy that doesn't get as much recognition as it deserves. Oh, sure we spend lots of time talking about inflation. And the troubles with the supply chain. But we don't spend enough time talking about the problems with the jobs markets.

In fact, I think there's a tendency by some to think that we're nearly back to the levels we were at before the Pandemic struck when politicians around the nation locked down their cities and states.

It may interest you to know that we currently have 2.3 million fewer workers than we had when all this began nearly 2 years ago. And remember our population has continued to grow during that time. So that's over 2 million fewer workers to serve and an even bigger population.

No wonder Jack didn't get his coffee!

Now, every Thursday Wall Street turns its attention to the Jobs Market. A look at how the Workers in America are doing.

Today we'll see the number of people who are filing brand new claims for unemployment insurance. Once a month we'll also get such data as the total number of people working in-country. And that all-important unemployment rate.

Each report gives us a slightly different look at labor. A principal component of the nation's overall productivity.

All of the components have to work together to have a fully functional economy. Capital, resources, and labor, must all be doing well.

It's so important that it is one of the two essential goals of the Federal Reserve: stable prices AND FULL EMPLOYMENT!

Now, as we've already pointed out, we're not at full employment currently. As we said there are 2.3 million fewer workers now than when the Pandemic began in early 2020.

But there are other signs, more recent, that say the jobs market is struggling. For three months in a row, going into today's reading, there have been more and more workers filing for unemployment benefits. We wouldn't expect to see that if the economy was continuing to recover.

The unemployment numbers should be going down. Not up, as they are currently.

Of course, such government policies as the “mandate' have caused many to stay at home, rather than to take the vaccine. This only exacerbates the problem of fewer workers on the job.

You see, everyone has a role to play in this economy. From the gas station attendant, who makes sure that you have fuel to get to work, to the electric worker who makes sure your home has light and heat.

And yes, even to those coffee shop people. Who make sure that those of us who live on caffeine are wide awake in the morning.

It is a carefully orchestrated, exceedingly intricate society. A society that doesn't fully function, when 2.3 million of our fellow workers are no longer on their jobs.