It’s the Wages

By Isaac Cohen*

The latest figures on US employment, released last week by the Labor Department, revealed the continuation in October of the vigorous trend in job creation which has prevailed throughout the year. With 214,000 new non agricultural jobs created last month, the unemployment rate decreased to 5.8 percent and average monthly job creation for this year remained close to 230,000.

However, in October wages increased just 0.1 percent from the previous month. This is consistent with the stagnation of wages of the last five years, at an average yearly rate of 2 percent, barely above the rate of inflation. By sectors, in October, most of the hiring was in low wage retail and hospitality, which contributed over one third of the new jobs created last month.

Wage stagnation may help understand why, last week, most of the voters did not believe the economy is improving. Exit polls carried out last week on the day of the last election revealed that 78 percent of those interrogated were very or somewhat worried about the economy’s future, while two thirds said the economy was worsening.

Additionally, despite electing Republican candidates in five states, Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, Illinois and South Dakota, voters also approved initiatives to increase the minimum wage.

*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio. Former Director, UNECLAC.

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About Ramón Jiménez

Ramón Jiménez, actual Managing Editor de MetroLatinoUSA. Periodista que cubre eventos de las comunidades latinas en Washington D.C., Maryland y Virginia. Graduado de la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad del Distrito de Columbia. Galardonado en numerosas ocasiones por parte de la Asociación Nacional de Publicaciones Hispanas (NAHP) y otras organizaciones comunitarias y deportivas de la región metropolitana de esta capital. También premiado en dos ocasiones como Mejor Periodista del Año por la cobertura de la comunidad salvadoreña; premios otorgados por la Oficina de Asuntos Latinos del Alcalde de Washington (OLA) y otras organizaciones. Ha sido miembro del jurado calificador en diferentes concursos literarios, de belleza y talento en la región metropolitana. Ha visitado zonas de desastre en Nicaragua, Honduras y El Salvador e invitado a esos países por organizaciones que asisten a personas de escasos recursos económicos. Antes trabajó en otros medios de prensa de Virginia y Washington, D.C., incluyendo reportajes para una agencia noticiosa mundial.

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