Average hourly earnings for February rose but there was something else to note than just the increase in paychecks: it was workers at the low end of the pay scale who benefited most.
Average hourly earnings rose 3.4 percent in February from the same period a year ago, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report last week. That's the biggest gain since April 2009 and seventh month in a row that compensation has been 3 percent or better.
What has set this rise apart is that it's the first time during an economic recovery that began in mid-2009 that the bottom half of earners are benefiting more than the top half — in fact, about twice as much, according to calculations by Goldman Sachs. The trend began in 2018 and has continued into this year, and could be signaling a stronger economy than many experts think.
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For instance, retail industry employees saw an increase of 5 percent and leisure and hospitality earnings rose 4.6 percent from February 2018. At the same time, professional and business services workers gained 2.8 percent while Wall Street-related positions in finance increased just 2 percent.
So much for the progressive talking point that only the rich are benefiting from the current economy.
The story says that these wage trends run counter to the idea that the economy will not be able to sustain growth.
If you read financial sites, you can easily get the impression that we are headed for a recession.
We want these outlets to report accurately, even the bad news. But the gloom and doom has been heavy lately.
These improving earnings of those at lowest paying jobs is good news that it's hard to spin negatively, however.