The hurricane-battered job market surged back to life in October, the government reported on Friday, the latest sign that the American economy has entered perhaps its strongest stretch of growth in years.
Yet the latest round of jobs data did nothing to resolve the question that has bedeviled the economic recovery for years: When will job growth translate into strong wage gains for American workers? Average hourly earnings were 2.4 percent higher in October than a year earlier, barely keeping pace with inflation.
Considering the tight labor market, with unemployment at its lowest level since Bill Clinton was president, many economists say the dividends have been paltry.
“It’s certainly trending the right way, but it’s surely still unexciting — even unacceptable — wage growth at this point,” said Dan North, chief economist at Euler Hermes North America.
Employers added 261,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department said, the most in more than a year. A strong rebound in job creation had been expected after hurricanes in Florida and Texas kept tens or even hundreds of thousands of workers away from work — and off payrolls — in September.
The storms’ effects were clearest in the weather-dependent leisure and hospitality sector, which lost 102,000 jobs in September, then gained them all back and more — 106,000 jobs — in October.
Source: The New York Times