Sunday, May 8, 2016

Take Numbers Like These With a Grain of Salt


Just as a momentary slow down in job growth over all doesn't necessarily mean things are now bad, so to does a momentary up tic in average wages not necessarily mean things are improving; especially as it might relate to an improvement overall for middle class wage earners.

One thing that the average value here in wages doesn't include is average hours actually worked per week. It's one thing to have a nominal hourly rate increase, but quite another if you are still working only part time. A factor that gets further skewed if you consider that part time may also be denying you full medical coverage; so your effect wage, as opposed to the current cost of living, may not be so great after all.

You need only look at a chart of how actual hours worked per week has fared (up to March of this year) to see that this may still be not so great.

And the other thing, of course, is that so many of those getting better wages, even if they are full time, are only temp workers to begin with; who, again, may, or may not, get full medical coverage. A factor that, in itself, further indicates that what is in effect this moment may have nothing at all to do with what will pertain to the next moment. Which is only another way to say that market volatility will be a way of life for more and more of us.

Weekly Hours

Labor Trade Off: Growth Slows, But the Quality of Jobs is Improving

by MARTHA C. WHITE

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