Orange County Register: Two new reports that taken together provide a pretty good picture of how the U.S. labor force has fared since the economic recovery began in June 2009.
On Monday, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released a report, prepared by IHS Global Insight, noting that U.S. payroll employment reached an all-time high this spring, finally surpassing the prerecession peak of 138.4 million jobs, reached in the first quarter of 2008.
Then, the Labor Department reported Tuesday that there were 4.7 million job openings on the last business day in June, the highest number of openings in 13 years.
NOT ALL IS GOLDEN
If the reports stopped there, it would be cause for celebration, from Orange County, Calif., to Orange County, Fla. But, as a wise man famously advised, all that glitters is not gold.
Indeed, the Conference of Mayors report laments that jobs gained during the economic recovery pay an average 23 percent less than jobs lost during the so-called Great Recession.
The annual wage was $61,637 in sectors where jobs were lost in the economic downturn, which began in December 2007, while the average wage of new jobs gained through the second quarter of this year was only $47,171. “This wage gap,” said the report, “represents $93 billion in lost wages.”
So, American workers are to be forgiven if they are not especially bullish about the nation’s labor market.