The labor market the United States is experiencing right now wasn’t supposed to be possible. Not that long ago, the overwhelming consensus among economists would have been that you couldn’t have a 3.6 percent unemployment rate without also seeing the rate of job creation slowing (where are new workers going to come from with so few out of work, after all?) and having an inflation surge (a worker shortage should mean employers bidding up wages, right?).
Potential perils are in plain sight: An intense and unpredictable tariff battle is alarming businesses across the country. The annual federal deficit is heading toward $1 trillion. Credit card debt is soaring. And the synchronous wave that lifted every world economy at the year’s start has dissipated. So what? Such risks have done little to puncture the exuberant optimism that is encouraging American businesses to ramp up hiring and consider new investment.
Since Trump first took credit for the lower unemployment rates earlier this month, journalists and economists have noted that he isn’t really the cause of the decline. Unemployment among black Americans has been declining pretty steadily after coming close to 17 percent in 2011.