One of the recurring complaints about the job market – at least from the perspective of employers – has been the scarcity of workers, with the number of job openings now greater than the number of unemployed Americans (although a big question here that has so far been unanswered is why don’t employers simply raised wages to find more appropriate candidates than hiring convicts and drug addicts).
Meanwhile, the picture from the perspective of workers is quite different, and while today’s jobs report was overall solid when one excludes the Toys “R” Us liquidation and the layoffs associated with school vacations, there was one number that stood out: the surging number of multiple job holders.
According to the latest payrolls report, in July, the number of Americans holding multiple jobs soared by 453,000, the second highest on record, and only lower than the 487,000 multiple jobholder increase in October 2014. As a result, the total number of multiple jobholders in the US spiked to 8.072 million, surpassing the recession high of 8.071 million hit in August 2008, and the highest all the way back to 1999.
There was offsetting good news, as the number of full-time workers jumping by 453K in July, while part-time workers declined by 36,000.
And yet, by far the worst news in today’s report was that despite the 2.7% nominal increase in average hourly earnings, when netting out the 2.9% increase in inflation, real wages declined by 0.2%, which was the biggest monthly drop in average hourly earning going back to 2012. This may explain why US car sales just posted their worst decline in years and why increasingly more sectors have been complaining about sluggish spending by the US consumer.
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