Employment Growth Has No Effect on Blue-Collar Wages

A couple of days ago, Brad DeLong noted that when unemployment is low there should be pressure to increase wages. But that doesn’t seem to be happening today. So he linked to a piece by Nick Bunker, who suggests that we should look instead at the prime-age employment rate, which seems to correlate better with wage growth.

I’m usually interested in blue-collar wages rather than overall wages—which includes the earnings of doctors and lawyers and computer programmers—and while reading this it occurred to me that growth in the prime-age employment rate ought to correlate with growth in blue-collar wages. So I looked into it. In the spirit of publishing null results, there appears to be no correlation at all:

I would think that two years of employment growth—no matter where it’s starting from—would lead to at least some growth in blue-collar wages. But the correlation is actually slightly negative. This seems odd. What do you think the reason could be? Is prime-age employment completely disconnected from blue-collar employment? Or is it something else?

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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