The government said on Friday that employers added 113,000 jobs in January, the second straight month of anemic growth, despite some signs of strength in the broader economy. The unemployment rate inched down in January to 6.6 percent, the lowest level since October 2008, from 6.7 percent in December.But the report also made plain what many Americans feel in their bones: Wages are stuck, and barely rose at all in 2013. They were up 1.9 percent last year, or a mere 0.4 percent after accounting for inflation. Not only was that increase even smaller than the one recorded in 2012, it was half the normal rate of wage gains in the two decades before the last recession.The stagnation helps explain why many people feel apprehensive even though the economy grew at a robust pace in the second half of 2013, corporate profits rose, the stock market boomed and the housing market continued to gain ground.united-promo The issue cuts across the American work force.
In fact, white-collar workers did a bit worse than blue-collar workers last year in terms of wage growth.“People are running in place in terms of their living standards,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “There’s almost no growth in spending power.” As recently as 2008, when the economy sank deeper into recession and Lehman Brothers collapsed, wages still managed to rise by 3.5 percent, before inflation. But the combination of a backlog of workers left behind in the recession’s wake, as well as productivity gains resulting from new technologies, means salaries may not rebound anytime soon.“We won’t see stronger wage growth until unemployment gets below 6 percent and we begin adding 200,000 jobs a month,” Mr. Harris predicted. Friday’s data from the Labor Department shows an economy performing well below that level, however.Tampon The 113,000 jobs that were added in January fell far short of the 180,000 economists had anticipated, and came after a particularly weak December. Despite the decline in the jobless rate,akupunktur odense some economists said on Friday that job creation had indeed slowed, in what might be called a winter wobble for the economy — the cold weather equivalent of last year’s summer swoon.
Dean Maki, chief United States economist at Barclays, noted that over the course of November, December and January, the more reliable three-month pace of job creation stood at 154,000, roughly 75,000 positions fewer than employers added in September, October and November. Initially, the weak report for December was blamed on wintry conditions that inhibited hiring, but Mr. Maki said a second straight month of disappointing job gains led him to conclude that the cold and snow could not be blamed this time.“I don’t think we can say weather affected January payrolls,” Mr. Maki said, noting that the construction sector, for example, bounced back in January after a weak showing in December.