09/28/2022

Wages Rise at Fastest Rate in Nearly a Decade as Hiring Jumps

Hiring accelerated in October and the unemployment rate held at a 49-year low, signs of a strengthening labor market that delivered U.S. workers the best pay raises in nearly a decade.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased a seasonally adjusted 250,000 in October, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, matching lowest rate since December 1969. Wages increased 3.1% from a year earlier, the best year-over-year gain for average hourly earnings since 2009.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 188,000 new jobs in October and a 3.7% unemployment rate.

Average hourly earnings for all private-sector workers increased 5 cents last month to $27.30. October marked the first time since the recession ended more than nine years ago that the closely watched pay gauge rose better than 3% from a year earlier.

During the downturn, wages were growing because employers were letting go of less-experienced, lower-paid workers, leaving higher-earning workers on payrolls.

Now the opposite is occurring. With relatively few unemployed Americans looking for work, employers are increasingly having to bid up wages to poach workers from other employers. That has been happening for several years for higher-skilled workers such as engineers and welders, but now it is occurring for relatively lower-skilled jobs such as warehouse workers and home-care aides.

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