Society

Wages Rise At Fastest Rate In Seven Years

| by Ray Brown

Average hourly rages rose 10 cents in October to $25.92 and are up 2.8 percent over the past year, which was the largest annual increase over the past seven years, according to the U.S. Labor Department's monthly jobs report.

Overall, the unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent from 5 percent, but the job gains weren't as high as economists expected, reported USA Today.

A Bloomberg survey found that economists predicted a growth of 175,000 new jobs, but the actual numbers fell short of that, with 161,000 new jobs in October.

Of those new jobs, 19,000 were from federal, state or local governments, while the other 142,000 came from private businesses.

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The industries with the largest growth were health care, which saw an increase in 31,000 jobs; professional and business services, which increased by 41,000; and financial services, including insurance companies, for a total increase of 22,000 jobs.

“It was pretty positive across the board,” said David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide Insurance, according to The New York Times. “Most importantly, we got a nice jump in average hourly earnings and that actually corresponds with other data.”

While more jobs have been created in professional fields, as well as insurance and health care, there has been little change for the unemployed.

There are still 7.9 million unemployed people, according to the Labor Department numbers, which changed only nominally from the previous month. Of those, 2 million are long-term unemployed, meaning they've been unemployed for more than 27 weeks.

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Another group of workers who haven't seen much improvement are the 5.9 million Americans who are under-employed, those whose hours have been cut or work part-time because they're unable to find full-time work.

Sources: USA Today, The New York Times, U.S. Department of Labor / Photo credit: Phil Whitehouse/Flickr

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