While the job numbers released today fall somewhere between bad and lukewarm, there's another statistic contained in the Bureau of Labor Statistics report worth mentioning. Hourly wages increased in August, relatively decently. This provides another small sliver of optimism.
Here's a chart showing how hourly wages have changed over the past 13 months, while unemployment has remained above 9.5%:
You can see that January's 0.27% increase is the largest in a month since January and the second biggest jump in the past year.
Of course, a 0.27% increase in wages is hardly going to jumpstart the economy. But wages have increased about 1.3% since 2009 began, which does help. If Americans are earning more money, then they'll likely spend more of it. And if there's anything that the economy could desperately use right now, it's more spending.
Note: I should add that the average hours worked remained constant in August, so this isn't a situation where wages increased while total hours worked declined.
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