With movie awards season around the corner, some entertainment pundits may use the term “category fraud” to describe races in…
On Friday, April’s unemployment rate was announced at 5.4%, the lowest reading since May 2008 and significantly down from its peak reading of 10% in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Despite the low participation rate (62.8%), the dramatic improvement in the unemployment rate should be viewed as a positive development for the United States economy.
Although the unemployment rate has recovered, wage growth continues to stagnate, as shown by our chart this week. In looking at the chart, a negative correlation between unemployment and wage growth is abundantly clear and makes sense intuitively: when unemployment is high, workers do not have pricing power to demand higher wages, but when unemployment is low and demand is high for employees, firms are forced to offer higher wages to entice workers. The most recent recovery in the unemployment rate, however, has not been accompanied by the ascension in wage growth that is to be expected. So while the lower unemployment rate is encouraging, it is difficult to label the labor market as fully recovered until we see more tangible growth in hourly earnings.
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