Bureau of Labor Statistics May Report Step in Right Direction, but Dark Clouds Loom

Published on June 5th, 2015

The May Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report was more encouraging than anticipated. About 280,000 jobs were added, and some of the other supporting data also trended positive, including average wages, which increased eight cents an hour to $24.96.The most robust job growth came in business and professional services (63,000), followed closely by leisure and hospitality (57,000).

Reduced immigration would improve
graduates’ employment prospects.

But despite the upbeat report, at least as compared to previous months, a troubling pattern remains firmly entrenched: too many American workers need a raise. When The Wall Street Journal analyzed Labor Department data, it found that even as the economy recovers, in 33 metropolitan areas, including Houston and Minneapolis-St. Paul, wage growth remains behind the prerecession rate.

The Journal acknowledges that wage stagnation is a long-standing problem for the American middle class. From the Journal: “Stagnant incomes are a long-running problem for the American middle class. Median household income, adjusted for inflation, was $51,939 in 2013, only slightly higher than it was in 1988, when it was $51,514. Slow wage growth is part of the problem; adjusted for inflation, blue-collar pay has increased just 0.3% a year over the past quarter-century.”

Stalled wages for working Americans are not likely to accelerate in the near future, especially if immigration continues at its historic high levels. Many employers envision a future that will favor part-time employees, robots and cheap foreign-born labor.

Last month, the all-important employment-to-population ratio improved slightly to 59.4 percent, but may dip in the coming summer months as more youth turn 18 and new college graduates begin their search for full-time employment.

If the U.S. economy is ever to make meaningful strides in the wage sector, the labor market must get tighter. Illegal immigrants cannot become work authorized, as President Obama’s stalled executive action would do, and the Trade Promotion Authority bill with its secret immigration provisions cannot pass Congress.

Please go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your House representative to stand up for American workers, oppose immigration increases and reject TPA.

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