Odd economic data

Find myself curious if I can give some anecdotal data relevant to the current employment numbers/ odd economic data…

–know a restauranteur who hasn’t been able to fill a position. He’s finally gotten a family member to do it, but it will take time for him to learn the job. The latest guy who quit was nervous about Covid-related risks.

–know someone who’s been struggling for months to get the unemployment he’s owed. Now he’s getting called back to work, which is on for two weeks then off for one week, and still hasn’t gotten his benefits. (Also of note: the UI requirement for searching for employment, waived during Covid, is back on.)

— know someone who was in the hospitality industry when Covid began, (an upscale waiter?) got some education in software and is doing that now. Really happy with his career shift.

— know an older customer, self-employed, whose jobs dried up with Covid and he started taking social security. You could imagine this person working again if the numbers made sense.

–Baby boomer, single professional woman, feeling now she really has to maximize her contributions to her retirement account.

–Retired single professional woman with a rental property, who has just purchased a home to serve as a primary residence, which she’s been remodeling. Works part-time.

–Young guy, about to get out the military after four years and go to school to learn a trade; anxious if the GI Bill will process his student loans in time.

–Old working-poor guy, whose housing subsidy for the retirement home somehow went DOWN when he made LESS income during covid. Beaurocatratic snafu but very real. “Time for a tent.”

–Young professionals being made to go back into offices for part of the week which they view as an unnecessary health risk.

–Handyman/ tradesman (with kind of complicated work issues) says he hasn’t seen things coming back.

I think the screwy economic numbers are mainly owing to the fact that we’ve done something pretty drastic to the economy — closing it down, pumping it full of money, opening it up again– Krugman had a good metaphor of a car’s tires skidding as it accelerates from zero to high speed. And yet it also seems possible that this drastic activity has unearthed some unknown issues or accelerated some known-about trends, such as older workers taking retirement. If a lot of people started taking their Social Security, for example, which is a bit of a one way street, that could be a thing.

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