How good was the October jobs report? Just ask former Obama White House chief economist Jason Furman.
“I’m not seeing anything bad in this jobs report,” Furman wrote on Twitter after reviewing the numbers. “Strong hourly wage growth, even stronger weekly wage growth, higher labor force participation, lower broader underemployment, while job growth bounced back from last month and the unemployment rate remained low.”
Jared Bernstein, former chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden, used the same platform to deliver essentially the same message.
“Pretty much everything you could want in a monthly jobs report,” Bernstein wrote. “Payroll gains way better than expected, nice pop in labor force participation, wage growth continues to strengthen, finally beating inflation (real gains!).”
The acceleration of wage growth reflects a tight labor market in which workers are gaining leverage and employers are being forced to respond.
Take the construction and retail industries. CNBC reports that, to meet their labor needs, construction companies are “offering higher pay, better benefits and on-the-job training,” while also “reaching out to groups of people who don’t fit the traditional mold of a construction worker.”
Meanwhile, many retailers are offering workers more hours along with the associated benefits. “Candidates are demanding 40 hours a week, and they can,” Erika Mendez of Pyramid Consulting Group tells CNN Business. “A lot of the power is in their hands, and the employer has to bend to that power.”
Not surprisingly, in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, 65 percent of Americans describe the state of the economy as either good or excellent — “the most optimistic attitudes about the economy in nearly two decades.”
How this optimism will affect Tuesday’s election results remains to be seen.