the Fed on the labor market

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Mon Aug 14 10:58:48 PDT 2000

From the Fed's latest Beige Book <>.

>Labor Markets
>Nearly all Districts reported that labor markets remain very tight,
>and the labor shortage has become more severe in the Boston and
>Kansas City Districts. Difficulty obtaining workers was restraining
>employment growth in the Atlanta, Dallas, Richmond, and St. Louis
>The shortage of workers is reported across all types of industries,
>including manufacturing, services, transportation, construction,
>energy extraction, and information technology. Several Districts
>mentioned difficulty obtaining retail workers. A retailer in the
>Richmond District said it is a challenge to find reliable employees,
>adding that some "employees just don't show up for work." A Dallas
>District retailer said the lack of employee experience is hurting
>sales. A staffing service contact in the Chicago area said that
>meeting its customers' needs for workers was "like torture."
>Most Districts said wages, benefits, or incentives were growing and
>becoming more creative. Signing bonuses are becoming larger for both
>skilled and unskilled workers at many firms in the St. Louis
>District, and some fast food chains are offering free meals, regular
>pay raises, paid training, and profit sharing. The San Francisco
>District reported that there were few instances in which wage
>increases were outstripping productivity gains but there had been a
>pickup in benefit costs. A grocery store chain in the Dallas
>District has addressed advertisements to parents suggesting that
>they encourage their children to become employees because the chain
>offers good pay, flexible hours, and extensive benefits, including
>college tuition.

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