On top of this excellent thread and op-ed, I'd also note that if workers were too-happy on UI or (rationally, perhaps!) just too-wary about working in face-to-face services like restaurants, you'd at least expect employers to try to wring more hours out of existing employees. 1/x
After all, they're part-time, so not getting UI (almost surely, given the horrible state of our short-time compensation and partial UI programs), and, they're showing up in face-to-face workplaces already. Why not boost their hours? 2/x
But there's very little evidence that employers are using this margin - average hours worked per week in food and drinking places is actually down over recent months (and relative to previous years). 3/x
No, it's not dispositive. Maybe part-time workers resist getting more hours because of caregiving responsibilities. But it does strike me as at least some kind of blow against the story that employers are facing a clear shortage because of UI. 4/4

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More from @joshbivens_DC

4 May
On the one hand, I agree that if you told me that the reserve army of the jobless would swell by 8.4 million relative to a year year ago, but that wage growth wouldn't fall much, I'd be surprised. 1/x
But there's a lot more to the story of what's happened over the past year. For one, macro policy has been extraordinarily expansionary - I think very few US workers are concerned they'll be laid-off over the coming year simply because "the economy" will be weak overall. 2/x
This is a huge success! One key part of the huge amount of macro relief/recovery efforts was exactly building a firewall around the face-to-face service sector, to make sure plummeting demand there did not spiral outward. I think it worked. 3/x
Read 11 tweets
5 Mar
The rescue plan that passed the House and is currently being debated by the Senate is economically sound and politically popular. So naturally plenty of people are threatening to go going wobbly on it in the homestretch. 1/n
They need to stiffen their spines. The plan is at the right scale for the problem in front of us. Nothing is certain, but the plan’s overall size and its composition are quite well-suited for the next couple of years and it balances the risks in front of us really well. 2/n
If it somehow comes in “too big”, it won’t be by much and won’t be for so long to be damaging. But it’s admirably ambitious-enough that it largely rules out coming in radically too-small, like the Recovery Act following the Great Recession. This is the prudent path. 3/n
Read 16 tweets
21 Jul 20
The Republican-led Senate looks set to approve Judy Shelton as a Federal Reserve governor, and looks to be in no hurry to provide the full amount of relief through UI benefits and aid to S/L govts that is needed to stave off an economic calamity. 1
Further, the Senate has shown no will to force better virus management practices (testing, tracing, etc…) down the throat of the Trump admin, who would prefer to pretend none of this is happening. 2
What does the coming Shelton confirmation and the refusal to act at scale to address the economic fallout of covid – or even to get a handle on the public health aspects of it - have in common? 3
Read 9 tweets
20 Jul 20
This WaPo story is infuriating. Sounds like Senate republicans want to go cheap (and cruel) on by far the most-important bits of the economic response to Covid – enhanced UI benefits and aid to state/local governments. 1
Job growth will be 100% determined by the shortfall of aggregate demand relative to potential GDP for the next year. This shortfall will remain enormous if the enhanced UI benefits and the aid to S/L govts are both ignored – these combined constitute a huge “fiscal cliff”. 2
On UI, the extra $600 weekly payment by itself added $840 billion at an annualized rate to U.S. personal income in May. If it goes to zero, we’ll end up a year from now with about 5 million fewer jobs than we’d have if we kept this money flowing. 3
Read 12 tweets
2 Jun 20
Obviously nobody cares (rightly) what I think about the ongoing protests. But it feels wrong to express opinions on twitter about other topics while ignoring the most-important thing going on in the US today - the protests and the unhinged, ultra-violent response of cops.1
Are there cops who are decent people? Sure. But the problem with American policing is that it’s rotten and racist as an institutional matter, and, the few good apples too often get quickly ruined by the rest of the barrel. Last few days have left no doubt about this. 2
I’m no expert in police reform or this history, so, never really seemed like my place to talk about any of this. But you don’t need to be an expert to see that far too many police treat Black people like the US is their open-air prison and cops are the guards.3
Read 5 tweets
21 Feb 20
There’s a narrative going around that Trump deserves credit, however grudgingly given, by progressives who have long argued that the Fed should be more willing to test the lower limits of unemployment. This seems clearly wrong to me. 1/20
The argument runs that by leaning on Fed chair Powell to keep rates low, Trump has stopped the Fed from raising rates and cutting off the recovery too soon. It’s certainly true that in its history the Fed has cut recoveries short far too often. 2
But what’s the evidence that it’s Trump, not something else, that has led the Fed to be more admirably open-minded in testing how low unemployment can go this time? I’d argue, in fact, that Trump’s carping has been an obstacle, not a help, in the push for more dovish policy. 3
Read 20 tweets

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