Economists Are Split on Cause of Hiring Slowdown

November 12, 2019

This year, employers have added an average of 167,000 jobs each month. This is a big decline from last year’s monthly average of 223,000, and puts 2019 on track to be the lowest year of job growth since 2010. The Wall Street Journal’s most recent survey of economists found disagreement regarding the cause of this hiring slowdown.

The survey found that 45.3 percent of economists attribute the slowdown to a tight labor market, meaning that businesses aren’t hiring because they can’t find enough qualified workers. This cause would mean that the economic expansion could continue apace so long as new workers are motivated to join the workforce.

Conversely, 37.7 percent of economists see a more troubling cause. They believe that businesses are not hiring because they are fearful of economic expansion. The hiring slowdown could be an early indicator that businesses are being impacted by the global slowdown or are beginning to see decreased demand domestically, which could mean that the U.S. economy is losing momentum.

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