05 December 2014

Is This Record Streak of Job Creation Finally Raising Wages?

Today's job reports makes for some great facts.

In November, the American economy created 321,000 new jobs. 365,000 jobs were announced today, though, because the job creation numbers for September and October were revised upwards.

Since 2000, there have been only 2 months with job gains of more than 365,000.

It has been nearly 20 years since we've had 10 consecutive months in which the economy has created at least 200,000 jobs.

This month's positive number means the current uninterrupted streak of positive job numbers is now 50 months, breaking last month's record for longest streak since the US began keeping records in 1939.

Even if the economy creates zero jobs this month, 2014 will be the best year for job creation since 1999. That is, this is already the best year of the new century.

While the unemployment rate held steady at 5.8%, it is down 1.2% from last year and this sustained rate of job creation might finally be putting upwards pressure on wages.

There is also really promising news about wages. In the October report, wages were up only 0.1% from the previous month. This month, they were up 0.7%. Now 0.7% is almost surely unsustainable. (That would translate into a 8.2% raise in wages for the next year, a delightful prospect that's more fantasy than possibility in light of the last couple of decades but a rate that we actually hit in the 1970s and 1980s.) But such a sharp upwards trend in the context of lower unemployment rate and strong job growth suggests that we might finally be moving beyond the prolonged period of wage stagnation that has characterized this new century. If so, that could be the best news yet.

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