Human Resources

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Thomas Piketty: I always exclude what economists call (unfortunately, to my mind) “human capital,” which consists of an individual’s labor power, skills, training, and abilities. (Capital in the Twenty First Century.)

My wife and I just renewed our lease at a 10% increase. The leasing manager (who has access to national information) pointed out that market prices are up in the Denver metropolitan area due to the legalization of marijuana (people want to be able to use marijuana and not just people who are stoned full-time). Colorado does not generally have housing market restrictions so our lease increase properly reflects supply and demand, prices moving up while the market increases supply to match demand.

One could reasonably conclude that the job market is also in need of adjustment yet Colorado unemployment is running at 4.2% (state unemployment) well below the states median.

It is often remarked that it is an “employer’s market” or an “employee’s market,” much like there is a “buyer’s market” or a “seller’s market” in real estate. In the 2008 recession Colorado’s real estate market (like the rest of the country) was a buyer’s market. The job market was an employer’s market. From the simplest perspective this is reasonable because a person who does not have a job is not in a position to buy a house.

How is it that these correlations can be made and why is it that, with so many people moving to Colorado it is not a employer’s market?

  1. As a fungible market, more people are needed to service the in-migration: resources are just about the numbers.

  2. In a skilled market, resources are about the ability to create new products and goods; job creators can set up shop anywhere they please as long as the resources are available.

Most companies proclaim that people are their most valuable resource. Highly successful companies believe it and act on it.

Likewise, in society, people are not a drain on resources, they are the most valuable resource.

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