Blockbuster Job Growth Still Isn’t Turning Into Big Raises For American Workers

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The economy added 242,000 jobs in January while the unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 4.9 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 190,000 jobs to be added.

That maintains the lowest unemployment rate in 2008. The number of jobs added in December of last year was revised up by 9,000, while January was revised up by 21,000. With revisions included, the economy has been adding jobs at a 228,000 average monthly pace, matching the pace of growth in 2015. The labor force participation rate and employment-population ratio both edged up in February, signs that more people are joining the labor force and seeking jobs.

Job gains were concentrated in health care and social assistance (57,000), retail (55,000), food service and drinking places (40,000), private education services (28,000), and construction (19,000). Retail has added 339,000 jobs over the last year, while food and drinking places have added 359,000.

Even with strong jobs growth, wages slipped in February. After a 12-cent gain in February, average hourly earnings declined by 3 cents, and they’ve grown by just 2.2 percent over the last year.


CREDIT: Center for American Progress