I have just returned from three weeks in the US and as dangerous as it is to draw on anecdote rather than hard data, sometimes you can see the big picture a lot more clearly from first hand observation. And as I only spent time in the northeast, drawing conclusions from one region and extrapolating that to what is probably the most diverse nation on the planet is fraught with danger. With these important disclaimers, here is my two bobs’ worth.
Firstly, the unemployment rate of just 5.1% is real. I couldn’t believe the number of “now hiring” boards I saw, or employers saying that they couldn’t find staff. From Walmart (boasting that starting wages were $9.00 an hour - $1.75 above the regulated minimum), Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s to any of the hotels I stayed in. And not just service industries – these boards were outside a number of factories I passed.