Fed’s Beige Book says worker shortage hurts US hiring

By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch

Jul 17, 2017

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The Federal Reserve says a shortage of qualified workers in the U.S. has “limited” hiring, but there’s little evidence firms are raising wages to attract job seekers, according to the central bank’s latest deep dive on the economy.

The so-called Beige Book, the Fed’s regular survey of business conditions around the country, said economic growth was “slight to moderate” from late May through June. That’s a bit less upbeat compared to the May report.

The ultra-tight labor market, with unemployment near a 16-year low at 4.4%, was frequently cited by those surveyed as a headwind.

“Employment was held back by tight labor availability,” the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank found.

Many companies complain they cannot find enough suitable workers to fill all their empty positions. In April job openings rose to the second highest level ever.

Businesses in the Philadelphia region also complained about keeping new employees on the job.

“Workers appear to have less loyalty to the job, and more job-hopping is showing up on resumes,” the Philadelphia Fed reported.

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