Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Economist Michael Madowitz released the following statement today on the December 2019 Employment Situation figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
With the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.5% and the economy adding 145,000 jobs, and wage growth decelerating further to 2.9% over the year, today’s jobs report helps pull 2019 job growth closer to average, but job creation weakened considerably in 2019. After three-quarters of one of the decade’s weakest years of job growth, a lot of help from the Fed brought the economy back this quarter and managed to counteract some of the bad economic policy coming out of the White House.
There’s no question that this economy is working for the wealthy at the expense of low- and middle-income Americans. Real wages barely grew faster than inflation, while stock prices rose roughly 10 times faster than wages. December was yet another month in which workers barely saw a raise. The good news is that next month, we’ll see some wage growth as new minimum wage laws take effect in 21 states and 26 cities or counties. Still, the federal minimum wage is only $7.25, despite the fact that the Democratic-led House passed a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and President Donald Trump’s effort to prevent the bill from becoming law is one more structural reason workers are experiencing weak wage growth that’s largely immune to low unemployment.
For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Julia Cusick at gro.ssergorpnacirema@kcisucj or 202-495-3682.