The low unemployment rate and stagnant pay point to a depressed economy underneath.
Across the country, there are more jobs available than there are workers looking for them, as the unemployment rate has dropped to a nearly two-decade low. Businesses are complaining of worker shortages, arguing they could do more and sell more and build more if they could just find the labor. Yet wages remain strikingly flat, with much of the raises that workers are making getting eaten up by inflation. Employees still somehow lack the power to cajole businesses into paying them more, nearly a decade into the recovery.
The central paradox of the Trump economy is that widespread concerns about labor shortages coexist with widespread complaints about low wages. But economists do not see it as much of a paradox—instead seeing it as a sign of dimming business dynamism and diminished worker power.