U.S. Jobless Figures Drop, But So Do Wages


More than a half-million Americans were added to the nation's payrolls in December at the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent, two-tenths of a point lower than November. The jobless rate is now at its lowest level since June 2008.

But as the U.S. Department of Labor reported this morning that the unemployment rate was dropping, so too were wages. The average hourly earnings in December dropped 5 cents to $24.57 and were up only 1.7 percent in 2014, barely keeping up with inflation.

“The simple fact is we cannot consider an employment report a success, no matter how healthy the headline may be, if wage data does not begin to accelerate,” Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at BTIG, said in a note to clients, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Overall, December marked the 11th straight month of payroll increases above 200,000 the longest stretch since 1994. For all of 2014, the U.S. economy generated 2.95 million new jobs.