The American economy seems to have started off the new year strong, according to recent reports, continuing a trajectory of increased employment opportunities from last year. The most recent data released by the U.S. Department of Labor indicates that employers added a seasonally adjusted 257,000 jobs in January, which is significantly higher that the original projection which were based on trends from the fourth quarter of 2014. reports indicate that since Nov. 1, 2014 employers have hired more than one million new workers which is consequently the best performance over a three-month period since 1997. Furthermore, labor data suggests that more jobs were created in 2014 in total that in any year since 1999.
However the question remains, is the American workforce is finally seeing the impact of new job creation?
Some economists are warning that economic output grew at a much slower-than-expected rate through the 2014 fourth quarter, which could mean that job creation might be outpacing business growth. Wage growth is also a concern for many experts, according to a recent report in the New York Times. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that wages have increased 2.2 percent for the last 12 months after a slight dip in December. Economists are reporting that many businesses may still be holding back wage increases as they wait for inflation and productivity growth before bring wages, and in turn labor expenses, up. For example, BLS data shows that the construction industry added 48,000 jobs in December yet wages fell by 0.3 percent for a gain of 1.8 percent for the year. This trend is not isolated to construction, in fact many sectors saw sluggish wage growth over all last year.
Officials are hopeful that greater job growth and increased labor regulations, such as minimum wage mandates, will create more progress.
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