Jobs Numbers Continue Generally Positive Trend
The latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that the economy is continuing on a steady course, at least as far as employment goes. Wage growth is stronger than the trend of the last few years, which may be the result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allowing employers to pay their workers more.
The government shutdown does not appear to have affected the numbers much, as most affected workers were still technically employed. A large jump in people working part-time for economic reasons appears to have been attributable to affected workers like contractors taking a second job. That should subside this month.
As we have noted before, we should not expect the president’s trade war to be too visible in the jobs numbers, although it should be noted that industries that are supposed to benefit the most from tariff protection are not seeing a rise in employment. Other protected industries are beginning to suffer, exactly as free-market economics predicts.
To ensure that jobs growth remains strong, policymakers should continue to focus on the supply side. As federal tax cuts now appear to be off the table, that means that the administration should focus more on deregulation. One way to do this would be by an executive order on “regulatory dark matter”—the guidelines and directions that are purely at the discretion of regulators.
Financial regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission should ease rules on investment and financial technology. This could give businesses more access to capital for expansion. Energy regulators should continue their deregulation that will make the lifeblood of business more affordable. Meanwhile, those regulators who have been making noises about expanding their power should stop that, lest the administration’s new regulatory burdens outweigh its deregulatory benefits.