Listen: The quit threat, a side effect of low unemployment
"Heidi? Sheer Holtz was chief economist at the department of labor for a good chunk of the Obama administration. She's with a think tank now called the Economic Policy Institute, which is partially funded by labor unions. And I wanted to talk to her about something that is happening in the job market right now. Unemployment has hit three point six percent, which means that of all the people who want to work and are able to work in the United States. Just three point six percent. Do not have a job that is the lowest unemployment rate in almost fifty years, and Heidi says, because on employment is, so low workers are starting to find themselves with this almost like superpower. The quit threat. The threat is good. Is that a real term? This is the kind of thing. Economists would name. Yes. Isn't it a? Yeah. Sure of what the actual name is et Colonel look it up, and I'll get back to you. Heidi did check and her colleagues. Agreed this should be called the quit threat though. There is not currently seem to be a name. But the general idea is this if I go to my boss, and I say, I might quit, that threat becomes more and more, realistic, the lower unemployment gets. They keep logic of this exactly what anyone on the street with think it's just if you're player knows that you have decent outside options. They have to pay better wages to keep their workers. They have to pay better wages to get the workers that they need. And we know you know the difference between a nine percent unemployment rate in an eight percent. Unemployment rate means a lot less to workers, as far as their economic leverage goes than the difference between a four percent unemployment rate and. A three percent unemployment rate. So there is definitely some non linear already in what moving towards full employment means to workers, non-linear, linearity, etc. Etc. This is a beautiful Matthey way of saying for the first time in decades, kind of suddenly, workers have power. Hello and welcome to planet money. I'm Kenny Malone today on the show. What does full employment or near full employment, actually, look like in the real world, our colleagues at NPR's, business desk, have spent the last few months all over the country reporting a series of stories on full employment and today, we are going to hear about three of those stories. How brought worsts cheese and the quit threat are helping unions in Wisconsin. How some workers are still being left behind. And what happens when a CDs unemployment rate, hits, one point five percent as it has in Ames, Iowa,"