While the headline jobs print was a modest kneejerk disappointment at least until it is appropriately spun in some sort of “goldilocks” frame, where the October jobs report was a true disappointment, was in the report of average hourly earnings: rising at just 0.1% for the month and 2.0% Y/Y, it missed expectations across both metrics.
As a reminder, even Janet Yellen has observed that with the unemployment rate ridiculously low and thus meaningless to shape policy, the key thing the Fed head is watching is any changes in wages to determine where benign wage inflation is headed. Well, as the chart below shows, it is headed exactly nowhere, because 6 years after the recovery, wages simply refuse to rise.
And while there are many reason to explain this phenomenon, most of which have been covered here in the past, here is the easiest explanation of why wages have, and will continue to disappoint to the downside. From the report:
- Food services and drinking places added 42,000 jobs in October, compared with an average gain of 26,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months.
- Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up over the month (+37,000). Over the prior 12 months, job gains averaged 56,000 per month. In October, employment continued to trend up in temporary help services (+15,000).
In brief: well-paying jobs lower, low-paying jobs much higher.
And to visualize it: in October the US economy added the most waiters and bartenders in over a year. In fact at 42K, one in every five jobs “created” in the US economy went to a bartender, or a waiter.
Finally, putting it all in perspective, here is the total number of waters and bartenders Vs. manufacturing workers in the US since 1990. The red (bad) line has almost caught up with the blue (good) one. So much for Obama’s manufacturing renaissance promise as manufacturing workers have barely recouped any of the losses since the Great Depression started in 2008, while America has never had more waters and bartenders.