The Obama White House is highlighting a number of important positives about the US labor market, after the release of the December jobs report. Among them:
– The private sector has added 11.2 million jobs over 58 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record.
— Total employment rose by 2.95 million in 2014, the most in any calendar year since 1999.
— The annual average unemployment rate fell 1.2 percentage points between 2013 and 2014, the largest such decline since 1984.
— The nominal average hourly wage for production and non-supervisory workers was $20.59 in 2014, up 2.2 percent from 2013.
But these three charts show how much healing remains:
1.) Wage growth is weak:
2.) The share of Americans working remains depressed:
3.) Long-term unemployment remains elevated:
So the labor market, despite obvious and welcome improvement, isn’t where it needs to be. As Han Solo put it, “Great, kid, don’t get cocky.”