Carlitos -- We are off topic here somewhat, but this article on Sweden is relevant to the USA situation.
Bloomberg: This country has plenty of jobs. Where are all the workers?
Sweden's unemployment rate is 6.0 percent. And they have lots of job openings that they cannot fill because the unemployed are just not qualified.
"The number of job vacancies per person seeking a job is at the highest since 2000 and no less than 12 of 15 job sectors are experiencing a labor shortage, according to the Public Employment Service."
“Everyone wants the government to educate more trained people to your sector but I don’t think that’s possible at the moment, because there aren’t any,” [CEO Mattis] Johansson said. In the construction industry, quality and safety may suffer if workers are hired who don’t have the adequate skills, he said."
The way I say it is this....
If corporate/business profits are good, then employers are always hiring.
At a minimum, they will hire to replace workers with lower cost workers or replenish their workforce at same cost.
When profits are bad, they want to reduce headcount and drastically reduce cost.
Because GDP growth is rather flat and nothing to hang our hat on, it is not clear that employers, as a whole, are looking to add to headcount, but that is what is assumed.
Employers don't like to train people because that adds to cost. Hiring managers are typically ‘managed from above’ and when they can't find people to hire meeting the parameters they have been given they report a 'skills shortage.'
At the same time, there is clearly 'spoilage' of the buffer stock of labor or what Marx called the 'reserve army of labor'.
The world went thru a prolong period of economic crisis, and many parts are still suffering (southern Europe for example). Workers that went without jobs for long periods of time lost job skills and many may not be employable because they are now addicted to drugs, don't have stable family lives, have giant resume gaps, etc. Without a ‘transitional’ mechanism to restore their employability and mobility, they could be stuck outside the employed workforce, and that could translate to an inflation problem if the economy were truly 'short' the workers needed to meet demand. If that were the case, employers would be caught in an upward wage price-spiral. That's clearly not happening. While 'quarterly capitalism' and business consolidation (which reduces business competition for workers) might create ‘friction’ (or training and wage budget 'stickiness' in New Keynesian terms), corporate profits and merges won't survive if business has to 'turn away' sales because they won't 'pay up' to hire (and train) additional labor to do the work.
Carlitos -- I will agree that the economic growth and employment is uneven. That's always been the case, even in boom times. There is a certain threshold of unemployment or underemployment that is a bottom that even in the best of times cannot be easily moved for the reasons we have stated.
Certain cities and parts of the country can be undergoing an economic boom while other parts are in decline. Young people will most likely migrate to where the job opportunities are greatest. That is great for the boom towns but further accelerates the decline in the poorer cities.
In addition to the geographical disparities there are obviously educational and skills disparities as well as age disparities. Add to that the other factors we have discussed (health, lack of mobility) and the practical bottom level of unemployment is somewhere around 4 percent or maybe a bit lower.
The economic good times of the 1990s saw the unemployment rate slowly decline to a rate of 4 percent in 1999 before another recession hit. Recessions are another part of the cycle that makes it hard to lower the unemployment rate to below 4 percent.
You mentioned the GDP rate. It was 3.1 percent in the 2nd qtr and the advanced estimate for the 3rd qtr is 2.9 percent. Is that bad?
If you are a college graduate this year, the job prospects are good.
2017 college grads: You’re entering the best job market in 10 years
On the other hand, if you are a 50 something unemployed coal miner in West Virginia you might feel that job prospects are the worst in your lifetime. They blame Obama and cling to the hope that coal will be king again as Trump promised them again and again and again. They believe him because he says, "believe me!". Why move on when the coal jobs are most assuredly coming back?
Now I will agree that there is a pool of potential labor (part of that 4 percent) that can be made a productive part of society and contribute to further GDP growth. But tapping that 4 percent is very difficult and requires cooperative commitment from local, state and federal governments for job retraining programs as well as businesses for hiring and apprenticeships. It is not just sitting there "on demand" and the free market itself will not take care of it. I do not see that happening in a big way, and certainly not under the free market Republicans in power.
In other words, 2017 and perhaps the first half of 2018 might be as good as it gets for GDP growth and the unemployment rate.
This is off the tax reform topic somewhat but a subject worthy of debate.