Washington Post blogger Sarah Kliff tried to find a silver lining in the weak June jobs report. She pointed to the 0.1 hour increase in the length of the average workweek and the 6 cent increase in the average hourly wage. This is not much on which to hang your hat.
The length of the average workweek slips up or down by 0.1 hours pretty much at random. In fact it had fallen by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in May, after having been 35.5 hours for several months. This is hard to get very excited about.
The 6 cent rise in the average hourly wage is better news, however these numbers are very erratic and are subject to substantial revisions. (May's number was revised up by 3 cents in the June data.) Over a longer period, there is not much here to boast about.
The note refers to a 45 cent increase in the average hourly wage over the last year. This is a rise of 1.95 percent, roughly in step with inflation over this period. It's better that wages keep pace with inflation than if they don't, but this still means that workers are not sharing in any of the benefits of the economy's increase in productivity.
In this respect it is worth noting the average wage of production and non-supervisory workers increased by just 1.49 percent over the last year. This group, which consists of more than 80 percent of private sector employees, tends to be somewhat less educated and experienced than the labor force as a whole. The gap between the overall average wage and the earnings of non-supervisory workers implies that more highly educated workers have gotten a disproportionate share of the wage growth over the last year. The wages for the bulk of the workforce have not even kept pace with inflation.
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