The news that the U.S. economy added 280,000 jobs sounds great. Bloomberg offer charts that show a more mixed situation. Yes, job growth is up. However, the unemployment rate went up because more people have entered the job market. Similarly, average hourly earnings is up, but that measure has moved like a yo-yo over the past year. The best news is that long-term unemployment is moving steadily down. If you’re thinking about looking for a new job or asking your boss for a raise, this could be a good time to act. Even if the news is mixed, the job market is much better than it was five years ago.
A picture – or a graph – can be worth a thousand words. In a recent blog post, Paul Krugman includes a graph that tracks the wages of U.S. workers from 2007-Present. Between 2009-2010, the average wage of American workers takes a sharp drop. In the years since 2010, wages have remained stagnant. This graph helps us understand why many American remain downbeat despite the “good” news about job growth. Too many people are working hard and running in place – or–worse still – falling behind. As Krugman says, our political leaders don’t get it or don’t care. Hopefully they will wake up before it’s too late.