Job Growth Not Met with Rise in Wages

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the monthly report on the overall  employment situation.  The national unemployment rate was 5.8 percent and the number of unemployed persons went down to 9 million, or 1.2 million fewer unemployed persons than at the beginning of 2014.  The unemployment rate for Asian Americans was 5.0 percent, for whites 4.8 percent, Latinos 6.8 percent and African Americans 10.9 percent. The report does not include data for Native Americans.

This report highlights the danger of a recovery where job creation does not translate into rising household income.  Approximately, 214,000 new jobs were created this month (an average of over 200k new jobs are created every month this year); but wages have remained relatively stagnant at $24.57 per hour. Additionally, the number of people working part-time but seeking full-time employment and the “marginally attached” workers remains unchanged.

As we watch this recovery unfold, it has become clear that our job market reflects great economic inequality.

From Dedrick Asante – Muhammad, Sr. Director of NAACP Economic Department:

“The occupations seeing wage increases are primarily higher income and dominated by highly educated and skilled workers who are disproportionately white. Minorities have shifted from the decimated public and manufacturing workforce, to an overwhelming representation in retail occupations such as customer service, administrative support, waste removal, and security. These positions, in particular, have very little pressure to raise wages, as they are rarely covered by collective bargaining agreements and there are a large number of idle workers able to perform them. These positions are also easier to automate.  Middle and lower income workers have yet to see a recovery in their paychecks. They cannot spend enough to drive further growth in jobs, save for retirement, or lower the pressure on public services such as SNAP and public housing.  Until we see significant growth in wages for all occupations and people, we cannot call this a full recovery.”

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