Perspective: What’s really going on with the economy? (Deseret News)


    Perspective: What’s really going on with the economy? – By Michael Kofoed (Deseret News) / Aug 23, 2023

    Jobs are plentiful and inflation is slowing, but consumers are still pessimistic

    The economy is showing some great news and some heartburn. With misinformation from a variety of sources showing up across the media spectrum, where can one turn for an accurate economic vision? The Federal Reserve Economic Database, commonly called the FRED, is like eating a superfood with antioxidants, or whatever recent fad is out there, for your media diet. Hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, this database is easily accessible and shows decades of trends.

    First, in consultation with FRED, let’s consider the labor market. The two key indicators are the unemployment rate and labor force participation rate (the percentage of prime age workers employed or actively searching for work).

    Looking at the data from the past five years, we can see a remarkable drop in labor force participation followed by a steady increase back to 2019 levels. Conversely, the unemployment rate dramatically spiked to levels not seen since the Great Depression, decreased to 2008 recession levels in January 2021, and then steadily decreased to levels that are below what most economists would consider “full employment.”



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