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Wages rise as unemployment rate falls to 50-year low

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 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.