The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment report shows the average workweek increased by 0.1 hours, reversing a September decline. This is an important series to follow, since it has implications both for the theory that structural factors are responsible for high unemployment and also the claim that uncertainty is discouraging firms from hiring. In both cases, average hours should rise. In the first case, because firms are unable to find the workers with the skills they need; in the second, because firms are meeting their demand for labor by working the existing workforce longer rather than accepting the commitment associated with hiring new workers.
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