Q&A with John Schoen on 2011's economic outlook

Dec. 22, 2010 at 12:28 AM ET

TODAY Money expert and senior writer John Schoen chatted live with readers on Monday afternoon about the economic outlook for 2011.

Here are two of his answers and a complete archive.

Question from Cheddar: 

Are we likely to see unemployment decreasing in 2011?


Yes, but it's possible we'll see the jobless rate bump *up* a bit before it goes down.

That's because of the way the number is calculated. If you're not looking for a job, you're not counted. So as the job market improves, people who had "given up" looking start will begin their searches, which puts them back in the official definition of the "unemployed" workforce.

The improvement is going to be gradual though. The consensus of our panel is that the jobless rate will end 2011 at 9.2 percent.

Question from Carol:

Are we likely to see wages going up rather then down as I have noticed?


The economists we talked to said they expect the wage trends of the past few years to continue. What that means is that if you're college-educated, you'll have a decent chance of find a job and see relatively good wage growth. The current jobless rate for college grads is less than 6 percent.

For those at the other end of the education ladder, the outlook isn't nearly as good. The jobless rate is more than three times as high - and wages have largely stalled.

So it's very hard to talk about "the" U.S. economy these days. From the perspective of workers and consumers, we really have two economies.

Complete archive:


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