Wage growth is currently running at an annual rate of about 5%. Sustaining such wage growth with 2% inflation would require a large increase in productivity growth or continually falling profit margins. I’d root for either outcome, but I wouldn’t bet on them. Falling wage growth could bring down inflation, but in an economy with nearly two job openings for every person looking for work, don’t expect it to happen. Instead, the most probable outcome is that if the unemployment rate doesn’t rise, wages will continue to grow at that pace, which historically is associated with about 4% inflation. Monetary policy operates with long and variable lags. Given that most of the tightening in financial conditions was already in place 10 months ago and, if anything, the real economy and demand have strengthened in recent months, it would be foolish to sit and wait for the medicine to work. In fact, lags are precisely why the Fed should do more now —considering it will take months for whatever the central bank does next to have a meaningful effect on inflation.
- Date Posted:
- March 2, 2023
The first reason smartphones should be our prior is that the timing just lines up really well. The smartphone was invented in 2007, but it didn’t really become commonplace until the 2010s, exactly when teen happiness fell off a cliff: Younger Americans adopted the technology more quickly than older ones; 2010-11 seems to have been an especially important moment. And of course, the “killer app” for smartphones was social media. When you had to go to a computer to check Facebook or Twitter, you could only experience it intermittently; now, with a smartphone in your pocket and notifications enabled, you were on every app all the time. Why would that make us unhappy? There’s an obvious reason: social isolation.