Here's Janet Yellen:
A second factor bearing on estimates of labor market slack is the elevated number of workers who are employed part time but desire full-time work (those classified as "part time for economic reasons"). At nearly 5 percent of the labor force, the number of such workers is notably larger, relative to the unemployment rate, than has been typical historically, providing another reason why the current level of the unemployment rate may understate the amount of remaining slack in the labor market. Again, however, some portion of the rise in involuntary part-time work may reflect structural rather than cyclical factors. For example, the ongoing shift in employment away from goods production and toward services, a sector which historically has used a greater portion of part-time workers, may be boosting the share of part-time jobs. Likewise, the continuing decline of middle-skill jobs, some of which could be replaced by part-time jobs, may raise the share of part-time jobs in overall employment.12 Despite these challenges in assessing where the share of those employed part time for economic reasons may settle in the long run, the sharp run-up in involuntary part-time employment during the recession and its slow decline thereafter suggest that cyclical factors are significant.
All intelligent presumptions, I'm sure. But my how Janet is
After pointing out that the fed funds rate has been at zero for 5+ years---and unemployment has come down measurably of late---Plosser acknowledged that part-time employment remains relatively high. He stated that:
Something else is going on in this economy other than traditional labor market slack.
Yep, and I'll bet that over a cup of coffee he'd point to government's intrusion into the labor market as being a big component of that "something else."
I have to say, on monetary policy, I was impressed with some of what Plosser had to say:
I would like to see a stronger and better labor market. But, having said that, it's not obvious at all to me anymore that monetary policy is the solution to fixing the problems in the labor market.
Ah, one small step toward the reality that Hayek pointed out years ago:
"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."