America is in full employment, so why aren't we celebrating?

The job market grew slowly last year, then steadily, finally reaching a point at which there are many more openings than job seekers.

NPR,

Job application (illustrative)
Job application (illustrative)
Thinkstock

These are prosperous times in America. Out of every 100 people who want to work, more than 96 of them have jobs. This is what economists consider full employment.

The economy has grown for almost 10 years, making it one of the longest economic expansions in US history. And over that time, the job market has come back. It grew slowly at first, then steadily, finally reaching a point at which there are many more openings than job seekers.

Unemployment has reached a nearly 50-year low. The jobless rate for Hispanics has never been lower; the past two years have been the best job market ever for African Americans. Wages are starting to rise — and, more significantly, for the lowest-paid workers.

That may not endure, but it's a reversal of the long-term trend where the most highly paid workers were also the best rewarded. The job market today is so hot that groups that were sort of on the margins also are finding opportunities — including people with disabilities or a prison record.




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