New EU Research and Rising Inflation

Letter from the Chief Economist

Published on Jul 13, 2022

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Bledi Taska

Welcome to the Letter from the Chief Economist.

This week, I was invited to present at a conference in Brussels on how we can use real-time labor market data to better understand the adoption and diffusion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies throughout Europe.

Called “European Labor Markets - Mastering Technological and Structural Change,” the  conference was presented by the Pillars project, an EU initiative designed to highlight how demand for skills is changing and how education and training programs can adapt. AI is an extremely important factor in the future of digital strategies in Europe, but data limitations had kept us from understanding much about the topic before now.

Using Lightcast data with more than 175 million online job postings for six European countries dating back to 2014, we found that AI patterns in Europe are showing similar trends as in the US, where adoption and diffusion of AI has more than doubled over the past eight years. However, we did find that several countries are lagging behind the US in AI adoption, with Sweden showing the most similarity to the American pattern.

We also found that AI adoption patterns differ significantly by industry, with some traditional industries like Education or Manufacturing exhibiting high adoption rates in European countries. 

But what was really amazing about the conference was that Lightcast job posting data was used in a total of six presentations from researchers working all over the world. It was exciting and impressive to see how the impact of our data has spread across the globe. 

Overall, it was great to be part of this group and to see how we’ve had a hand in shaping how skills and the future of work are understood all over the world. 

Economic News

The biggest economic headline this week was the monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, which showed prices rose 1.3% in June and are up to 9.1% over the past twelve months, the highest in over 40 years. As we saw in the monthly Employment Situation Report last Friday, wages are up 5.1% over the past year (up 10 cents in June), showing that workers’ real wages continue to decline.

Such a high rate of inflation signals that we have a long way to go in fighting it, and the Federal Reserve will probably increase interest rates by 0.75% in its next meeting. That would throw more cold water on the US economy in general and in the labor market as well, but at this point, it’s probably a necessary measure.

Lastly, there are two other Lightcast projects I want to briefly highlight this week. The first is that CNBC's annual Top States for Business came out yesterday, and Lightcast data on each state’s workforce was used as a key part of their ranking criteria—congratulations to North Carolina, which took the top spot overall.

I also want to mention the work we’ve been doing on understanding “missing workers” who are currently not in the labor force but who would be ready to take a job under the right conditions. By eliminating the barriers keeping those individuals from employment (whether that’s training, childcare, or any number of other factors), employers can widen their pool of potential candidates while also creating more opportunities for millions of workers. You can read more of our findings on the Lightcast blog

Until next week,

Bledi Taska

Lightcast Chief Economist

Welcome to the Letter from the Chief Economist.

At Lightcast, our mission is to unlock mobility and opportunity for every employee, student, and community around the world.

I lead a team of economists and data scientists who look every day at our billions of data points in order to find meaningful insights and human stories. We believe those insights and stories can drive change, and every week, I’ll be sharing some of the highlights from our research.

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