Monday, March 28, 2011

Some news about unemployment, employment & summer jobs

If you ever took an economics class in school, you probably learned about the concepts of cyclical and structural unemployment. Like most economic theory, the two concepts aren't particularly complicated.

Unfortunately reality tends to be much more complex than theory, which explains the debate among economists about unemployment in the U.S. Why is unemployment so high -- is it a structural issue or a cyclical problem? Economist Mark Thoma (of the UO Economics Department) presented the cyclical side of the debate in an article last week. Thankfully, he started with an illustrative example to remind us how the two concepts differ.

While I'm on the subject of unemployment: We've shared several news articles in the last few months on the number of new unemployment insurance claims. The number goes up sometimes. It goes down sometimes. Week-to-week it's a volatile measure. Over the last month or so, total new claims in the U.S. have seen a gradual decline. Claims in Oregon tipped up. Get the details in this Oregonian article.

Looking at the flip side of the coin: The Bureau of Labor Statistics just released their comprehensive report on the "Employment Characteristics of Families" in 2010. Despite the title, the report actually talks about employment and unemployment in families. It includes a section specifically on mothers. The tables in the appendix even break out the data by race and ethnicity.

Quoting a survey by SnagAJob, CNN Money reported last week that this summer's seasonal hiring will feature more and better-paying jobs than the last few years. Employers generally try to hire early (by the end of April) and high unemployment means that competition will likely be tough.

If you're a Central Oregonian looking for a summer job, consider Sunriver. The Bend Bulletin says the resort has geared up its hiring activities, including a job fair at the resort on April 2nd. (If you're interested, check out or call 541-593-4600.)

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