Approaching Full Employment

By Isaac Cohen*

The creation of 211,000 new, non agricultural jobs last April corrected the relatively weak figure of 79,000 created in March and pushed down the unemployment rate to 4.4 percent, the lowest of the last decade. This means the US economy is approaching full employment, whereby anybody looking for a job can find one and those who are employed can move to where they can earn better wages. In fact, employers are complaining that it is becoming harder to find qualified workers. Even so, an indicator that the labor market has room to expand is that wages are still increasing slowly. In April, wages increased 0.3 percent, at a yearly rate of 2.5 percent, slightly above the rate of inflation.

If confirmed by the next job figures, which will be released on the first Friday in June, labor market tightness fully justifies the next interest rate increase, expected to be approved by the Federal Reserve at its June 13-14 meeting. The availability of labor can also limit economic growth. as evidenced by the fact that the present slow and weak economic recovery, at a yearly growth rate of almost 2 percent, can be explained in part by declining rates of participation in the labor force and by less population growth.

*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO and other media. Former Director, UNECLAC. Washington

About Ramón Jiménez

Ramón Jiménez, actual Managing Editor de MetroLatinoUSA. Periodista que cubre eventos de las comunidades latinas en Washington D.C., Maryland y Virginia. Graduado de la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad del Distrito de Columbia. Galardonado en numerosas ocasiones por parte de la Asociación Nacional de Publicaciones Hispanas (NAHP) y otras organizaciones comunitarias y deportivas de la región metropolitana de esta capital. También premiado en dos ocasiones como Mejor Periodista del Año por la cobertura de la comunidad salvadoreña; premios otorgados por la Oficina de Asuntos Latinos del Alcalde de Washington (OLA) y otras organizaciones. Ha sido miembro del jurado calificador en diferentes concursos literarios, de belleza y talento en la región metropolitana. Ha visitado zonas de desastre en Nicaragua, Honduras y El Salvador e invitado a esos países por organizaciones que asisten a personas de escasos recursos económicos. Antes trabajó en otros medios de prensa de Virginia y Washington, D.C., incluyendo reportajes para una agencia noticiosa mundial.

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