Code Red Politics

U.S. Added 250,000 Jobs in October; Unemployment at 3.7%

Many of those workers will rejoin the labor force — some have reached retirement age, others have seen their skills lose value, and a number are too disabled to work. Economists have had a spirited debate over how many more people could be lured back to the labor market. The relatively languid pace of wage growth could be evidence that there are still people on the sidelines who would be willing to take jobs if it seemed worth while.

So far this year, the labor force has been growing by roughly 70,000 people a month — way below the average hiring figures. Help is not coming from abroad: The number of immigrant visas issued by the government has declined for two years in a row.

Employers say they are on the hunt for workers. “I speak to probably a thousand businesspeople a month,” said Rick Lazio, a former Republican congressman who is now a senior vice president at Alliantgroup, a tax-credit consulting firm. Midsize manufacturers are turning down lots of business, he said,…

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