Bottoming out (or not)
The latest conventional wisdom is that the avalanche of layoffs seems to be tapering off. Job losses are still heavy, nationwide and in Boston, but not as bad as a few months ago.
But the New York Times’ economics writers came across an interesting blog written by Jeffrey Frankel, a Harvard economist, that casts things in a gloomier light.
Frankel says payroll jobs statistics make a nice economic indicator, but the number of hours worked is better. And in that regard, things are still slipping badly. He notes that the total hours worked by Americans in May fell 0.7 percent. What’s more, the average work week fell to its lowest level since 1964.
When demand starts to improve, companies end furloughs, pile on the overtime, etc., long before they get up nerve to re-hire, he says.
Bottom line? We might not be that close to bottoming out, after all, he says.
You can read the blog here.
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