Lower-Income Workers’ Wages Growing at Faster Pace
Wages, or average hourly earnings (AHEs), rose by more than 3% on an annual basis for the 11th consecutive month in June. The Labor Department reported even larger gains for lower-income workers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) monthly jobs report — or, the Employment Situation — showed wages for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $27.90 in June.
That’s after a 9-cent gain in May. Non-supervisory and production workers saw wage growth gain 3.4% over the past 12 months.
“The June jobs report surpassed expectations adding 224,000 jobs to the economy, totaling 5.6 million jobs created since January 2017,” Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said. “This report included other good news as wages increased at or above 3% year over year for 11 straight months.”
In the fourth quarter (Q4) 2018, wages posted the biggest gain (3.1%) since Q3 2008, hitting that mark for the first time since the Great Recession.
It has held above 3% ever since.
“We continue to look for increasing investment into America’s workforce through the Pledge to America’s Workers, USMCA, and apprenticeship expansion,” Secretary Acosta added.
While the unemployment rate (chart) ticked up 0.1% to 3.7% in June, it was due to 335,000 Americans entering the labor force. That figure exceeds population growth by 158,000.
The unemployment rate for Asian Americans fell to a new record low at 2.1%, and the overall unemployment rate has remained at or below 4% for 16 consecutive months.
The labor force participation rate (chart) ticked slightly higher from 62.8% to 62.9%, while the employment-population ratio was 60.6% for the fourth month in a row.
Asian labor force participation rose 0.6% to 63.6%, Hispanics rose 0.2% to 66.4% and Whites ticked slightly higher by 0.1% to 62.9%.