THE news that average wages grew by 2.9% in December, the final full month of the Obama presidency, provides more evidence that America’s labour market is heating up. For some time, America has been creating plentiful jobs—2016 was the fifth consecutive year with more than 2m job gains. But wage growth has been weak enough to cast doubt on the labour market’s strength. A commonly cited reason for paltry pay rises was the number of 25- to 54-year-olds—dubbed “prime age” workers—who had stopped looking for work after the recession, and hence were no longer counted as unemployed. Wages, the argument went, would not pick up until they were encouraged back to work.
With the average pay-cheque now growing faster than at any time since 2009—when layoffs of low-paid workers were artificially boosting average wages<span style="font-size: 11.0pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: 'Calibri','sans-serif'; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman';…Continue reading