Earnings and Employment | WYPR

Earnings and Employment

Jan 19, 2017

Credit Adam/flickr

The economic recovery that began in mid 2009 is at long last showing up more meaningfully in the paychecks of average Americans. The Labor Department recently reported that average hourly earnings have risen 2.9 percent over the past year – that’s the best annual performance since the economic recovery began seven and a half years ago.

Still, there is much more room for improvement. The official unemployment rate stands at 4.7 percent, but a more comprehensive barometer of unemployment, which includes workers forced to accept part-time employment because full-time positions are not available, stood at 9.2 percent at the end of last year. As indicated by writer Nelson Schwartz, that represents a much higher level than at this point in past recoveries.

Moreover, monthly job creation last year was well below the average of 236,000 recorded in 2014 and 2015. Economists expect wages to rise by up to 3.5 percent in 2017, still below the pace of gains many workers experienced during the recovery of the mid 2000s and during technology-fueled boom of the late 1990s.