The economy added a very solid 321,000 jobs in November, even though the unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent. Economist Jared Bernstein smooths out the trend with a monthly average 278,000 jobs created over the past three months and 228,000 over the past year. Hours improved and labor force participation, which has fallen dramatically in recent years, held steady.
One problem remains wages, which improved in November but that doesn’t make a trend or even compensate for long stagnation. Bernstein notes:
But with the added weekly hours, weekly earnings are up 2.4 percent, year-over-year, the highest growth rate in a year. Here again, however, real gains still equate to less than 1 percent, and they’re coming from more work at stagnant real earnings. The punchline of all this is that the job market appears to be solidly on the mend. Yet slack remains, and this is most clearly seen in the wage data.
There are further challenges. The unemployment rate among African-Americans was 11.1 percent last month; it was below 8 percent before the recession. White unemployment, by contrast, was 4.9 percent and Hispanics were at 6.6 percent.
Also, little change was seen in the long-term unemployed. Those out of work for 27 weeks or longer totaled 2.8 million. Total unemployed were 9.1 million.
According to the Hamilton Project, if the United States continued to add 228,000 jobs per month, the “jobs gap” — the employment lost to the recession and the jobs not created during the crisis — would still not be refilled until 2017.
So, I ask you…
This Week’s Links:
• Global drilling slowdown on the way | Oil & Energy
• The oil glut is fairly expensive oil | Econobrowser
• Actually, war is bad for the economy | The Big Picture
• Why the next recession will be different | Mark Thoma/Fiscal Times
• This will be the hottest year ever measured | Scientific American
• How Wal-Mart and Home Depot are buying huge political influence | American Prospect
• The incredible shrinking incomes of young Americans | The Atlantic
• ‘Who pays for the minimum wage’ | Economist’s View
Today’s Econ Haiku:
Starbucks goes high end
You might say Supersonic
That would steam Howard
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