Wages rise as unemployment rate falls to 50-year low

11/08/18 at 04:12 PM | Published Under Job Openings by Larry Hannappel

Wages in a range of industries saw their biggest increase in more than a decade over the course of the last year.

That's according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which just announced that wages increased 2.9 percent, not adjusted for inflation, from September 2017 to September 2018.

Wages have grown relatively little since the 1970s, but they've been one of the slowest-moving parts of the economic recovery following the Great Recession.  

Now, however, the shrinking labor market has helped push wages up, as employers scramble to fill job openings.

The BLS announced in early October the unemployment rate had fallen to 3.7 percent, nearing historic lows.

Wages in the construction industry, among others, are expected to continue to move higher, with lower-skilled workers experiencing the strongest growth.

Minimum-wage increases are helping to increase the floor for unskilled wages in all industries.

The U.S. unemployment rate is now the lowest it has been in nearly 50 years.

Unemployment has also reached historic lows for multiple demographic groups. The unemployment rate for Hispanics fell to 4.5 percent (matching July 2018), the lowest rate ever recorded.

For women, the unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent (matching May 2018), which was the lowest rate in nearly 65 years.

The unemployment rate for those with a high school degree and no college attendance hit 3.7 percent, the lowest since April 2001.

Furthermore, September was the first month since December 2000 that the number of people who are unemployed fell below 6 million.

 

About the Author

Larry-hannapel Larry Hannappel

Larry spent 16 years with Century Casino's and was instrumental in the start-up and growth of the company through expansions in Canada, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Poland and on several cruise ships as well as in Colorado. He was most recently the SVP, Principal Finance Officer and COO of North American operations for Century Casinos Inc., a multinational, Nasdaq-traded gaming company. Earlier in his career, Larry worked at the Johns Manville Corp. Larry spent 13 years in various accounting and finance functions in the company’s fiberglass manufacturing division and was key in the start-up of a molding plant in Indiana. Larry and his wife Kathy and three children live in Colorado. He enjoys four-wheeling, motorcycling, golfing, skiing and brewing beer.

staffing service industry blog

News and Latest Events 
 
Economist pegs 2017 construction growth at 5 percent

The 2017 Dodge Construction Outlook sees total U.S. construction starts for 2017 advancing 5 percent to $713 billion, following increases of 11 percent in 2015 and an estimated 1 percent this year. Read more arrow

Robust jobs report eases worry over economic growth

The U.S. labor market in July capped off the best two-month stretch of hiring so far this year, a sign of strength for an economy that has been showing mixed growth signals in recent months. Read more arrow

U.S. growth and employment data tell different stories

Measured by traditional yardsticks for growth, like gross domestic product, the American economy definitely looks weak. View it through the prism of hiring and employment, however, and the economy seems surprisingly strong. Read more arrow

Labor Department clarifies employment guidelines 

The Labor Department has waded deeper into the contentious issue of joint employment, seeking to clarify who is accountable for violations of employment laws when two different entities, like a manufacturer and a staffing agency, both have ties to the same worker. Read more arrow

 
Prepare for the great moderation in U.S. job growth

An increasing number of Wall Street economists and those inside the Federal Reserve are concluding that job growth is bound to shift into a lower gear as the aging population drags on the amount of available labor. Read more arrow


Weakness and strength: 7 snapshots of the U.S. job market

Employers added a meager 142,000 jobs in September, the government said Friday. And the average job gain for each of the past three months — 167,000 — is well below the 231,000 average for the previous three. Read more arrow

Housing, construction may be able to improve U.S. jobs picture 

Even though Friday’s lackluster U.S. jobs report proved a disappointment, the growth in construction and housing jobs might be able to pull the U.S. economy through this rough patch. Read more arrow

Kansas employment stats create muddled picture

The data on employment in Topeka, Wichita and Kansas are behaving in puzzling ways, making it unclear whether their employment pictures are getting better or worse, according to an economist at Wichita State University. Read more arrow

NLRB will let more workers bargain with their employer’s employer

The decision could have widespread implications for subcontracting, franchising, and temporary staffing agencies that have become increasingly prevalent in today's "fissured" economy. Read more arrow 

 
Should Americans work more? 

While the average American workweek is already longer than in most high-income countries, the Irish and the South Koreans show it’s possible for an advanced country’s workers to put in more hours than we do. Read more arrow 

Labor Department expected to make millions more eligible for OT

Millions of Americans who work in excess of 40 hours a week will qualify for overtime pay under a proposed Labor Department rule. Read more arrow

 
Nailed it: Construction employment helps fuel economy

April was the best month for construction employment since January 2014, U.S. Labor Department figures showed — and not just for job creation. Unemployment among construction workers fell to its lowest level since 2006. Read more arrow

Despite hiring efforts, veterans face employment obstacles and civilian disconnect

A new report says that vets have trouble finding and keeping jobs and that civilian employers struggle to understand them. Read more arrow

 
Apartment construction a booming business nationwide

According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, apartment vacancies nationwide hit their lowest point in two decades in the last quarter of 2014: 4.8 percent. The low vacancy rate has led to sky high rents and an explosion of apartment construction that so far cannot keep pace with demand. Read more arrow


Trade plan hopes to grow Wichita exports by more than $1 billion

The Wichita-South Central Kansas Regional Export Plan aims to raise Wichita area exports by $1.1 billion over five years. Such a boost in sales would translate into roughly 6,000 more jobs, according to federal estimates. Read more arrow

The worst mistakes job seekers are still making

In today’s job market, applicants have enough challenges without worrying they’ve made a wrong move bad enough to cost them the position. There are all kinds of theories out there about which blunders are the absolute worst. Read more arrow

Companies face new rules on labor practices

President Obama will sign an executive order that could make it harder for companies that violate wage, labor and anti-discrimination laws to win federal contracts. Read more arrow