ECONOMY BEATS EXPECTATIONS ON QUANTITY … BUT WHITHER QUALITY?
The U.S. economy created 175,000 jobs in February, according to the federal government’s data – a print that beat industry expectations (as well as a private sector payroll figure released earlier in the week).
Still, labor participation remained stuck at 63 percent – meaning the size of the American workforce continues to hover at three-decade lows. Also the low quality of the newly created positions has resulted in contracting income levels – offering little in the way of upward mobility to the so-called “recovery.”
“Five years into the ‘recovery,’ weekly earnings growth is the lowest it has been in five years!” the website Zero Hedge notes.
How low? Average weekly income for all workers is currently $831.40 – or 1.3 percent higher than it was this time a year ago. For production and supervisory workers the weekly average is $682.65 – just one percent higher than a year ago.
“When wage growth is at 1 (percent), or half of the Fed’s inflation target, you will not get any sustained economic recovery,” Zero Hedge explains.
Officially, the unemployment rate climbed from 6.6 percent to 6.7 percent – although that number has become effectively meaningless given that roughly 90 million working age Americans (almost a third of the country) are not counted as part of the labor force.