business news in context, analysis with attitude

National Public Radio's Marketplace reports that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics said yesterday that last month, "job openings in the U.S. fell by more than 600,000, but the number of people hired and let go stayed about the same."

Experts say that this may presage the "soft landing" that economists have been hoping for.

Here's how Marketplace characterized the report:

"Fewer job openings in normal times might be not great news, but right now, it is — cautiously speaking — a good sign. 

"For inflation to not be crazy, wage growth has to also be not crazy. That is why the Federal Reserve would like to see a cooler labor market. To be clear: cooler, not cold. 

"The problem is that when the Fed has fought inflation before, it’s usually ended up freezing the labor market and sending the economy into recession. The hope is that this time around, we’ll get a labor market that is just right, inflation comes down to being just right, and the economy lives happily ever after (until the next crisis)."

KC's View:

One of the more remarkable statistics from the story is that "before the pandemic, there were around 7 million openings; today, there are just under 10 million."

I think economists (and politicians) have to be careful not to spike the ball too early on this one.  If we've learned anything from recent events, there always are wild cards, and they get dealt with frustrating regularity.