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Wage Growth Remained Slow at Year’s End

Hoyer: US Economic Performance Losing Steam

The December 2019 jobs report caps a year that ranked eighth in the 2010s for job creation. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer also said that wage growth was slower than in November 2019 and slower than 2018.

“December’s jobs report marks the last report of a decade that began with unemployment near 10% as we reeled from the worst of the Great Recession. That decade now ends amid an economic expansion marked by 111 consecutive months – more than nine years – of job growth,” Mr. Hoyer (D-MD) said. “Wage growth is slower than last month and slower than last year. The places where we see good news on this front are where local governments have increased the minimum wage …”

House Democrats believe that the answer to solving these economic challenges in the decade to come is to ensure that our government works for those it serves, making opportunities more accessible while helping entrepreneurs and businesses create good jobs that pay well, Mr. Hoyer said.

“That’s why, in 2019, we passed major legislation to raise wages, ensure equal pay for women, protect access to affordable health care and coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, lower prescription drug prices, help more workers save for a secure retirement, and protected multi-employer pension funds from going insolvent.  In 2020, we will continue to build on these actions by pushing for investments in infrastructure that create jobs and promoting policies that help more of our workers and their families get ahead and make it in America. We will not rest as we work to restore faith in government and ensure that it and our economy always work, first and foremost, for the people,” Mr. Hoyer said.

Congressman Hoyer sends weekly economic reports to House members as his concern with the economy grows. Some of his points on the heels of the release of the December jobs report are:

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

  • “It’s easier to get a job than a raise in this economy.” – Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton [The New York Times, 1/10/20]

STATS OF THE WEEK 

  • “The World Bank estimates growth in the United States will slow to 1.8 percent this year and 1.7 percent next year. That would be nearly the lowest annual rate since the last recession ended in mid-2009.” [The New York Times, 01/08/20]
  • “Private-sector wages advanced 2.9% from a year earlier, the smallest annual gain since July 2018 … For all of last year, employers added 2.11 million jobs. That was a slowdown from 2018’s robust gain of 2.68 million and ranked 2019 eighth for job growth in the past 10 years. A cooler pace of hiring reflected employers’ difficulty finding enough workers, global economic uncertainty and the fading effects of 2018’s tax cuts.” [Wall Street Journal, 1/10/20]

ECONOMIC NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

  • Wages are rising faster in states that increased the minimum wage than in states that did not. The Washington Post reported: “In the past week, minimum wages have risen in more than 20 states. Many of them are the result of increases that have been implemented in phases over the past few years, or indexed to inflation. Nearly 7 million workers began 2020 with higher wages, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank… A hot labor market helps, but policies that increase the minimum wage are a ‘really meaningful part of wage growth for low-wage workers,’ said Heidi Shierholz, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute. ‘That is absolutely, undeniably true.’ …Our analysis of Labor Department data shows that before 2016, wages for lower-paid workers rose across the country at more or less the same pace. In 2017, things began to change. Wage growth in states that increased minimum wages began to accelerate. Over the past year, paychecks for those in bottom 25 percent of the workforce grew almost 1.5 times as fast as those in states where the minimum wage did not budge.” [Washington Post, 01/02/20]
  • America is experiencing the lowest levels of population growth since 1918, posing news questions on the role of immigration on our economy in the coming decade. From Brookings Institution: “The nation’s population growth from 2018 to 2019 grew by a mere 0.48%, according to newly released Census Bureau estimates. This is the lowest annual growth rate since 1918, and caps off a decade that should show the slowest 10-year population growth since the first census was taken in 1790 … What this means is that immigration will become an increasingly important contributor to America’s health moving forward. As the country faces continued population stagnation, the 2020s will become a crucial period for understanding the role of immigrants in our economy and society.” [Brookings Institution, 01/02/20]

Follow Congressman Hoyer on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information about House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, visit his Leader member page.

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