Jobs might be plentiful, the New York Times reports, but big pay raises are not.
The good news: Most everyone who wants a job can find one. While the unemployment rate ticked up in October to 3.6%, that’s still near a five-decade low, and it’s happening because more people are joining the labor force for good reasons.
At the same time, however, wage growth is flatlining, with some presuming employers don’t have to increase compensation by much to recruit and retain people. But the low unemployment rate should mean that workers are scarce and that employers should need to start paying them more.
For most of the past few years, pay to American workers has been rising at steadily increasing rates. For example, average hourly earnings rose 2.7% in 2017, then 3.3%in 2018. However, compensation in private industry only rose 2.7% in the 12 months ended in September.
Recent Labor Department job growth numbers appear to disprove the theory that the rate of job creation is slowing. Instead, employers are managing to keep adding to their payrolls—even without offering big raises—not by hiring the increasingly scarce unemployed, but by coaxing people who were not looking for a job at all to enter the labor force.