The Workweek: A Round-Up of Labor Market Links for the Week Ending 2/24/17

This week’s labor market news on youth unemployment, flexible work and bingeing on Uber.

Welcome back to The Workweek, the Indeed Hiring Lab’s round-up of the latest research, news, and perspectives that made us think deeply or differently about the labor market this week. It’s your guide to the most important new insights about work.

Here are our picks for this week:

In Defense of Millennials

MIllennials are sometimes characterized as a generation of restless, disloyal job-hoppers constantly in search of greener pastures at another company — despite hard evidence to the contrary. New UK labor market research adds to that evidence, which is good news for Millennials looking to shake their reputation for changing jobs too often. The bad news? Younger workers’ company loyalty means they are missing out on the pay raises that typically come with switching jobs, which partially explains why they are earning less in real terms than their elders did at their age. (Financial Times)

Accounting for Labor Market Slack

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most commonly cited measure of joblessness — the headline unemployment rate — has fallen back to pre-recession levels. However, the broader U6 measure of joblessness (which includes those that are working part-time but would like to be working full-time hours) did not decline as quickly after the Great Recession and has yet to return to previous levels. This leads some economists to believe there is still considerable slack in the labor market. A new piece from the Atlanta Federal chalks this all up to several different factors, including our aging demographics and more people working in industries which often require part-time work. (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Working Longer, Not Smarter  

Since the Great Recession, overall economic output has increased at a rather underwhelming pace. In a short post, the St. Louis Federal Reserve uses a visual to peg slow labor productivity growth as an explanation for muted economic performance. Labor productivity growth is vital to the overall economy, as it is a driving force behind improvements in our standard of living. To highlight the long run implications, if labor productivity grew at 2% — as it did from 2001 to 2007 — the standard of living would double every 35 years. At the current, much slower pace, the same feat would take a whopping 116 years. (The Fred Blog

Measuring the Fate of the Blue-collar Worker

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) has launched their Blue-Collar Jobs Tracker, which much like the name suggests, will monitor the level of blue-collar jobs in the US. The fortune —or rather misfortune — of the blue-collar worker is an issue that took center stage during the 2016 election. In 1970, blue collar jobs accounted for about 30% of total employment. But since then the steady decline of US manufacturing has helped to bring that figure to 13.6% in 2016. The new administration has made it a priority to bring these jobs back, and this measure by the CEPR is one of many that will keep a close watch for any progress toward that aim. (Center for Economic and Policy Research)

Someone Has to Pay for All This

The rapid advancement of automation technology frequently inspires talk of the potentially devastating impact robots could have on the labor market. Perhaps less often discussed is what steps could be taken to help those that are likely to lose their job to automation. In an interview with Quartz, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates speaks on the merits of taxing the owners of automated technology to help fund work in other fields for which humans are much better suited, such as caring for the elderly or teaching. (Quartz