The Economy Shows Signs of Improving
Last Friday´s unemployment report was very encouraging to all of us and not just to job seekers. When the economy is strong our standard of living is much better for everyone. It also appears that hourly wages are on the upswing. The Labor Department said the average hourly wages rose by 9 cents an hour in February, up to $24.31. In other words, workers are now making 2.2 percent more per hour than they were a year ago.
No doubt a welcome change for a lot of hourly wage earners who have gone without an increase for a long time. Granted that an hourly wage of $24.00 is a good wage and that there are many, many American workers still stuck in very low paying jobs. Hopefully this trend will encourage a change to the minimum wage laws. I think we need it.
According to the statistics, the wage growth we describing means that wages grew at a rate higher that 1.6 percent. People are making more, they can save more, but they can also afford to buy things they may need. An article in NPR News quotes Linda Barrington, head of the Institute for Compensation Studies at Cornell, who has stated that February’s wage increase is an encouraging sign for the economy; she has also cautioned that workers will need to see steady gains over several months before they can feel more confident.”It’s only when the labor market recovery consistently shows up in faster-rising paychecks, that we’ll start to feel like it’s a recovery,” she said.
There are other good signs that the economy continues to improve:
ü Employers added 175,000 workers.
ü Unemployment rate is down.
ü The size of the labor force grew by about 264,000.
ü The number of people classified as “discouraged workers” declined to 755,000 last month, from 837,000 in January.
ü Construction companies added 15,000 jobs even though the weather was horrible in much of the country in February.
For us, this news is important and it is encouraging. We are a law firm that deals with the day to day problems of our clients. We know the struggles many of them face of supporting their families, maintaining a job or looking for one while at the same time helping a child or a spouse who is having a brush with the law or a drug issue. We think it is good that home construction appears to be improving and that the work force is growing.
May the economy of our nation continue to improve and may New Orleans continue to show a strong job market and a healthy economy.
I am Attorney Martin E. Regan, Jr. and these are my personal thoughts…