TODAY’S labour market report showed that the American economy created 156,000 net new jobs in August. That was a bit less than expected, but payrolls are still growing comfortably faster than the working-age population. Despite having created over 2m jobs in the last year, pushing unemployment below 4.5% for the last five months, wage growth remains muted, at around 2.5%, compared to more like 3.5% the last time unemployment was comparably low. In a recent article for the print edition, I analysed one potential explanation for weak wage growth: retirements of high-earnings baby-boomers.
Scott Sumner has taken issue with the premise of my piece. He says there is no puzzle at all. Instead, slow wage growth is being caused by slow growth in nominal GDP (cash-terms spending in the economy)…Continue reading