Average hourly earnings were up 1.8% y/y in August. Average weekly earnings were up 2.1%. Average hours worked were up 0.3%. The gain in weekly earnings appears to be largely due to slowly rising wage rates.
Salaried, commissioned, and “bonused” workers do not seem to have done significantly better than the hourly working stiffs in both July and August, as had been the case for many months previously. The uptrends in hours and earnings could be a sign that the labor market is tightening in spite of the huge numbers of people out of work. The issue may be that many of the unemployed do not possess the skills that are in demand in the market. Mortgage application takers and processors, and construction laborers generally do not make good computer game programmers. Economic pundits must face the fact that the 10 million fake jobs spawned by the bubble are not coming back. An 8.5% unemployment rate is “normal.” The bubble unemployment rate of 5.5% was abnormal.
This post is an excerpt from the permanent Employment Charts page, updated whenever new data becomes available. For long term charts of employment, initial claims, and other employment measures visit the Employment Charts page. Be sure to check out the section on real time Federal withholding taxes.
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