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Friday, October 15, 2021

In a tight labor market, vaccine requirements are a double-edged sword

Greetings readers! In today’s episode of Mixed Signals on the Macroeconomy, a hot read on consumer prices was followed up by jobless claims setting a new pandemic-era low. That labor market read, combined with strong third quarter earnings, was sufficient enough to power the S&P 500 Index (^GSPC) to its best day in about seven months.

The unexpected drop in unemployment claims — the latest testament to how tight labor conditions remain, even as bad news literally piles up in other parts of the economy — allows us to consider an as-yet under-explored question about the nexus between COVID-19 and understaffed service-sector jobs.

To wit: Are newly-implemented vaccine mandates helping or hurting a staffing shortage that’s now found its way…

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