The U.S. Labor Department’s employment report for May, which reported an unchanged official unemployment rate of 6.3%, said that of 217,000 (seasonally adjusted) jobs added in the month, almost none were in goods-producing sectors of the economy. More than half of the reported increase was made up of leisure and hospitality employment, with 39,000 additional jobs; healthcare and education services, with 63,000, and temp jobs with 14,000.
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Since many of these jobs, and a portion of those in the other big category, “business services,” are low-wage, there was a very small increase in average weekly earnings during May, putting those average earnings less than 2% higher than in May of 2013. According to a report posted Friday by the Social Security Administration, the median annual income of American wage earners is now $26,000 before taxes—just above the official definition of a “low-wage” worker at $24,000.
It was much noted that total employment in the U.S. economy is now said by the Labor Department to have regained its former peak level, that of January 2008, in early stages of the financial crash. During the six and one-half years under Bush and Obama needed to reach that same employment level again, some 13 million eligible members of the American workforce have dropped out of it, net, consuming the entire increase in persons eligible to work during that time.