Jobs, Jobs, Everywhere There’s Jobs

By Bryan Rich 

January 12, 2017, 3:00pm EST

Jobs, jobs everywhere there’s jobs. The President-elect yesterday said he will be the “greatest job creator God ever created.”

Since December, when the President-elect announced that Carrier, an air conditioner manufacturer in Michigan, would keep 1,000 jobs in the U.S. instead of moving them to Mexico, other companies have been lining up to announce big, bold hiring plans.

It was immediately clear that Carrier won priceless exposure and good-will.  From that point, the Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son took a visit to Trump Tower and followed with an announcement that his Softbank technology holdings company would invest $50 billion in U.S. businesses and create 50,000 new jobs.  Softbank owns more than 80% of Sprint, and Sprint has followed with an announcement of 5,000 jobs to come.

Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma visited Trump Tower yesterday and left saying he would create 1 million jobs in the U.S.

Amazon, who’s CEO Jeff Bezos had a visit to Trump Tower last month, said today they plan to add 100k jobs.

Not to be outdone, Taco Bell (part of YUM Brands), said today it would add 1.6 million jobs in the U.S. Does this mean Taco Bell is about to go on a massive expansion increasing their store count by 5x – putting a Taco Bell on every corner in America?

Or, is this all just a public relations ploy? Are they all hoping to gain favor with the administration? Yes and yes.  But it’s also all self-reinforcing.  A better outlook for jobs is driving confidence.  Confidence can drive a better outlook for jobs.  More employed, more confident consumers can drive economic growth.  And better growth drives more jobs.

Now, all of this said, the headline unemployment number is already down to 4.7% (near what is considered “normal”).  The number that measures underemployed and those that have stopped looking is down to 9.2%.  It’s much higher than the headline rate, but relative to history, it’s returning close to normal levels too.  With the prospects of hotter growth coming, and new job creation, we could be headed for a very tight labor market.  What does that mean?  Higher wages are coming, to finally begin making up for two decades of wage stagnation.

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