Human Capital Losses

Desperately Seeking Labor

A Single Variable

Long COVID, Long Problem

Homeschoolers Drop Out (of the Labor Force)

The Return of Stagflation

Palm Beach, Longevity, and Time Management

Remember math class? Let me give you a quick refresher.

In the equation 3 x 5 = 15, the 3 and 5 are factors, and 15 is the product. You can’t have a product without factors.

In economics we talk about “factors of production.” If you want to produce something, you need certain factors of production. These fall into four categories:

  • Land or natural resources

  • Labor: human beings who can work

  • Capital: money or other property that can finance land and labor

  • Entrepreneurship: ideas and risk-taking

The myriad goods and services the economy produces are all some blend of those factors. All four are necessary but today we’ll focus on labor, or as it’s sometimes called, “human capital.”

We are in an odd situation where it’s unclear if labor is scarce or abundant. Many employers can’t seem to find enough qualified workers, but the August jobs report said 8.4 million are unemployed and millions more underemployed. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.2%. Many employers are looking for workers but they only made 235,000 net new hires last month. The consensus estimate was 733,000, so a huge miss.

Source: Bloomberg

This is a big question with many threads. Today we’ll try to follow some of them.