Over the past 18 months it’s been fascinating to watch the divergent, often contradictory economic narratives in headlines and data.
While the Delta variant created a surge of infections that in some states rivaled the original virus, capital markets continued their barnstorming ways. Even including its recent pullback, the Dow is up 5% since Delta took hold in early summer.
July’s US labor report was another case in point. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a record high 10.9 million job openings. The three largest sectors comprising this increase were healthcare and social assistance, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services.
Yet there are also fewer than 9 million people unemployed. How can there be such a shortage of workers with far more jobs than jobless?
Incentives is one reason. Until this month unemployment benefits were a more attractive option than low paying positions with uncertain job stability.