If it's the first Friday of the month, it's time to talk jobs.
The Employment Situation report, as the
The jobs report is important because the labor market has been one of the biggest laggards in the U.S. economic recovery. While the official unemployment rate was 6.1% in June, 3.1 million had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more. Another 7.5 million were working part time, not because they wanted to, but because those were the only jobs they could find.
The big pool of people eager for any kind of work has kept a lid on wages. Employers can tell workers they should stop asking for more money and be happy they have a job. As a result, real buying power has fallen as the prices of staples, such as food and energy, have risen.
The danger for the economy: As consumers' budgets get stretched, they spend less, which dampens the economy.
But the quarterly employment cost index rose an unexpectedly brisk 0.7% in the second quarter, the
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