The American Economic Association’s annual conference, held this week in San Francisco, is is a gigantic teach-in, with hundreds of seminars for 13,000 economists. It is also a giant hiring event: over 500 employers reserved hotel rooms to interview 8-12 freshly minted PhDs each day. The ballroom of the Marriott was set aside for 100-odd more. American universities supply the candidates, but the demand is global and goes beyond academia. More than a dozen of the Marriott’s tables were reserved for Chinese universities, which increasingly follow an American-style economics curriculum and can pay the going global rate. Tech firms and banks want the best number-crunchers. The IMF and Federal Reserve have also added to demand for macroeconomists and finance experts, say academic recruiters. The Fed frets that a tight labour market may fuel inflation. But for an economist with a good PhD, tight is all right.