Yesterday’s jobs report—145,000 new jobs—is only so-so, but there are two more interesting features of the labor market right now.
The first is that wages are rising fastest at the bottom end of the income scale, suggesting that sustained economic growth is better than redistribution or minimum wage mandates for lifting the prospects of low-skilled workers. Of course, the left is not interested in growth any more, as I’ve often argued here, and as Joel Kotkin points out again in a great article yesterday at Quillette:
For much of the last seventy years, economic growth has lifted the quality of life in Europe, North America, and East Asia, providing social stability after the violent disruptions of World War II. Today, however, many of the world’s most influential leaders, even in the United States, reject the very notion that societies should improve material wealth and boost incomes given what they believe are more important environmental or social equity concerns. . .
Even in the United States, where growth has long been an unquestioned priority, virtually none of the leading Democratic candidates for President even mentions the word. Vice-President Joe Biden, the leading “moderate” in the Democratic party primaries, has explicitly stated that he would wipe out fossil fuel employment in the country to pursue a green agenda.
The second notable thing about the current job market is that women now constitute a majority of job holders:
Women overtook men to hold the majority of U.S. jobs for the first time in a decade, while employers added positions for a record 10th straight year, pointing to a growing and dynamic economy heading into 2020.
The number of women on nonfarm payrolls exceeded men in December for the first time since mid-2010, the Labor Department said Friday. Women held 50.04% of jobs last month, surpassing men on payrolls by 109,000.
But, but. . . don’t we live in a patriarchy? I’m sure feminists will nevertheless persist in throwing down the bogus “pay gap” claim.
Which reminds me, second, to post up here Mark Perry’s extremely useful chart of the whole range of male-female disparities in America:
Chaser: The Wall Street Journal also reports today on the revived interest in the idea of a guaranteed income, a centerpiece of Andrew Yang’s campaign, for example:
As Democrats embrace a more activist government, some are flirting with an idea that hasn’t received serious attention since the 1970s: a minimum guaranteed income for all Americans. . .
The belief that Washington should create an income floor last stirred widespread debate half a century ago. In 1962, conservative economist Milton Friedman called for a “negative income tax,” a kind of government salary for the poor. A few years later, President Nixon, a Republican, proposed a guaranteed annual income for families with children that would be worth about $1,600, or $10,000 in today’s dollars. His legislation passed the House twice, before dying in the Senate under attack from both conservatives, who said it went too far, and liberals, who said it didn’t go far enough.
I think the reason the idea of a guaranteed income is suddenly back on the table is simple: it is a plot of the patriarchy to enable men to sit on the couch at home and watch TV and play video games and eat chips and drink beer while the women go out and dominate the workplace. We should start promoting this line, along with the explanation that the reason women now outnumber men in the workplace is that employers have finally figured out that you can hire women to do the same job as men for a lot less money! No wonder corporate profits and the stock market are soaring! You can’t beat the Deep Patriarchy (an adjunct of the Deep State).