While many economists have turned somersaults over the fact that non-farm payrolls have increased by more than 200,000 for nine straight months, the longest streak since 1995, the job numbers aren't so pretty beneath the surface.
The number of Americans tied to part-time jobs that they don't want totals almost 7 million, The Wall Street Journal
"The situation of these so-called involuntary part-time workers — those who would prefer to work more than 34 hours a week — has economists puzzling over whether a higher level of part-time employment might be a permanent legacy of the Great Recession," writes Journal reporter Nick Timiraos.
"If so, it could force more workers to choose between underemployment or working multiple jobs to make ends meet, leading to less income growth and weaker discretionary spending."
That's not a good sign for the economy, given that consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of GDP.
"There's just less full-time jobs available than there used to be," Michelle Girard, chief economist at RBS Securities, tells The Journal.
Meanwhile, only 40 percent of the 214,000 jobs created in October were in fields that pay above the average national hourly wage of $24.57, down from 60 percent in September, according to MarketWatch.
"The mediocre nature of many new jobs and slow wage growth are perhaps the biggest obstacle to a full-blown economic recovery," writes MarketWatch reporter Jeffry Bartash
To be sure, 58 percent of the jobs created this year pay more than the average hourly wage, compared with less than 50 percent last year, according to a MarketWatch analysis. And data can be bumpy month to month.
Overall, average hourly wages climbed only 2 percent in the 12 months through October, barely topping the 1.7 percent increase in consumer prices for the 12 months through September.
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