Employment Levels Rise While Wages Struggle


Last year, the U.S. job market experienced a surge of employment growth.

Since the end of 2014, over one million people have got jobs.

From the beginning of November to December, 147,000 jobs alone were added. However, 2014 as a whole had some of the best performance rates ever seen since the start of the millennium.

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The late 1990s was the last time the labor market went through a prosperous period. Last year’s impressive record was the first time since 1997 where America added the highest percentage of jobs over a three-month period.

Industries including manufacturing (22,000), financial services (22,000+), (food service (35,000), health care (38,3000), and housing construction (39,00) increased in employment numbers.

According to U.S. economist Guy Berge, this statistical evidence is "the best employment report we’ve had in a long time."

Staffing agencies should be the ones to thank. Companies across the nation have become heavily dependent on temp services to fill in job vacancies.

According to Reuters, temporary jobs contributed to 2.1 percent of the employment growth last year. They also earned a 14 percent increase in revenue during the fourth quarter.

In more recent news, this past January saw a remarkable increase in the employment rate. The economy was boosted by 257,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate in the same month may have gone up by .1 percent to 5.7 percent since December, but this was mainly due to out-of-work job-seekers actively looking for work. So it was not a bad sign.

Another aspect of the employment sector is struggling to keep up.

"Employment growth is astonishingly strong," said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. "With every indicator we follow screaming that payrolls will be very strong for the foreseeable future, wage pressures will intensify."

While employment growth is doing well, matters pertaining to wage gain are another story—especially for blue-collar workers.

Wages are rising at a dire speed in comparison to pre-recession rates, which usually resided anywhere between 3 to 4 percent.

Although salaries rose by 12 cents last month, wages only increased by 2.2 percent after falling suddenly in December.

Blue collar jobs are not the only working fields receiving the bad end of the stick. White collar occupations are also experiencing their fair share of unpleasant wage gains. For example, there haven’t been much salary improvements for the engineering and criminal justice professions.

See Also: Have Wages Really Risen, or Is It All an Illusion?

Blue-collar professions may not be getting the wages they deserve, but white-collar jobs are apparently struggling too.

Employment recruiters suppose that a rise in employment levels may be to blame. As they would put it, a surplus of labor is adversely affecting wage gains.

"We’re back to a market that feels a little bit more like 2005 or 2007 than the market we have felt in last four years," said Linda Galipeau, the chief executive for Randstad North America, a staffing and recruiting agency.

Wage gains may not be promising for the U.S. job market right now, but one fact that can’t be denied is that the unemployment rate is steadily dropping.

Reuters-" For blue-collar America wage gains are slim even as employment surges"
The new York Times-"Amid Gains in Jobs and Pay, Americans Rejoin the Work Force"