RealClear Radio Hour: Jobs, Stats, and Monetary Machinations

This week we go behind the scenes: gathering Federal employment numbers, uncovering the relationship between inflation and jobs, and debating the apparent impotence of central banks.

My first guest this week is Erica Groshen, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, who I first met 45 years ago at high school science camp. Erica shares how the Bureau compiles its influential monthly jobs report and inflation statistics. She discusses how her agency’s analysts measure labor participation and cost of living data—including accounting for the birth and death of firms and changes in spending behavior—and offers reasons why the gig economy hasn’t yet had much of an effect on the employment numbers.

Up second is John Williams, publisher of Shadow Government Statistics ( John discusses potential structural biases built into the Consumer Price Index, the most commonly cited measure of inflation, and the headline unemployment rate. He fears inaccurate numbers compound an already precarious situation—one he describes as the sharpest economic contraction in decades.

Anchoring the program is Jerry Jordan, past president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and author of the recently published paper, “The New Monetary Framework.” While central bank actions certainly roil stock markets, Jerry’s analysis suggests they have lost their ability to impact real economic activity—with only untested tools to curb runaway inflation should it break out.

You can hear the discussion by listening to the full show as-aired on iTunes, or you can check out the podcasts hosted on YouTube and SoundCloud. Make sure to check back next week for another episode of RealClear Radio Hour.

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