Average Earnings and Hours Continued Slightly Rising Trend In August

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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.

Average Weekly Earnings - Click to enlarge

Average Weekly Earnings – Click to enlarge


Average Weekly Hours Worked - Click to enlarge

Average Weekly Hours Worked – Click to enlarge

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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Lee Adler

I’ve been publishing The Wall Street Examiner and its predecessor for 16 years and also work with David Stockman on his website, which I developed, and for which I continue to provide analysis and charts. I’ve had a wide variety of jobs, mostly related to finance for the past 40 years including a stint on Wall Street in both analytical capacities and sales. Prior to starting the Wall Street Examiner I worked as a commercial real estate appraiser in Florida for 15 years. I also worked in the residential mortgage and real estate businesses when I was young. I have been charting stocks and markets, and doing analytical work of various kinds, since I was a teenager. My perspective is not of the Ivory Tower. It is instead from the perspective of having my boots on the ground and in the trenches of the industries that I analyze and write about today.