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Former Fed Researcher Says Job Market Runs Far Hotter Than Data Show

  • High level of job openings suggest less labor-market slack
  • John Roberts, a former Fed economist, writes in blog post

A former senior Federal Reserve researcher says the U.S. jobless rate of 3.8% in February is significantly below his estimate of full employment, one reason wage gains have picked up as the Fed prepares its first interest-rate increase since 2018. 

John Roberts, a former deputy associate director at the Fed Board in Washington who oversaw its domestic economic modeling efforts, said in a blog post that the high level of job openings suggests there is less labor-market slack than meets the eye, which could be elevating inflation pressures.