Arnold Kling makes some suggestions about where to go with empirical macroeconomics. He's hitting a lot of the points that I've envisioned looking at if I ever get in a program. That's encouraging, I suppose.
He of course takes a more sector-specific approach than I've been thinking about, and he downplays the monetary factors which are exactly what I think seem to be missing from the labor market dynamics literature. Long story short - pay a lot more attention to the underlying dynamics and less attention to the net changes.
Of course I didn't dream up any of this stuff myself. I identified where I saw a gap between theory and empirics as something specific to look at, but a lot of the stuff Kling goes over (even the sectoral stuff) has been done before. I'm curious why Kling doesn't cite all the people I've been reading that got my thinking to where it is today. Often he presents this stuff as uncharted territory, which I think is a little bit of an overstatement.