We are finally seeing wages rising as a result of the tight labor market. Great news!
Job growth blew past expectations in October and year-over-year wage gains jumped past 3 percent for the first time since the Great Recession, the Labor Department reported Friday.
Nonfarm payrolls powered up by 250,000 for the month, well ahead of Refinitiv estimates of 190,000. The unemployment rate stayed at 3.7 percent, the lowest since December 1969.
The ranks of the employed rose to a fresh record 156.6 million and the employment-to-population ratio increased to 60.6 percent, the highest level since December 2008, according to the department’s household survey. That headline jobless number stayed level even amid a two-tenths of a percentage point rise in the labor force participation rate to 62.9 percent.
Those counted as outside the labor force tumbled by 487,000 to 95.9 million.
But the bigger story may be wage growth, which has been the missing piece of the economic recovery. Average hourly earnings increased by 5 cents an hour for the month and 83 cents year over year, representing a 3.1 percent gain. The annual increase in wages was the best since 2009.
Expect inflation to creep up next as a natural result of wage growth. Let’s hope that the Federal Reserve doesn’t overreact to inflation and crimp the employment and wage growth we are enjoying.