By Spencer England
The latest employment report was bad news as payroll employment only rose by 18,000 compared with last month's disappointing rise of 25,000. Government employment fell 39,000 versus 48,000 in May. Private payrolls expanded only 57,000 and that was even weaker than the prior month's 73,000. Over the last two months payroll employment was essentially unchanged.
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In addition the average workweek was unchanged so aggregate hours worked only expanded 0.1%
Over the last few months the index of hours worked has been:
.........March......... April......... May........ June
.........100.5......... 100.7........ 100.7 ..... 100.8
Average hourly earnings fell from $19.42 to $19.41. Both the year-over-year and compound three month growth rate of average hourly earnings is only 1.9%. Wage growth is approaching a record low.
Average wekly earnings growth also continues to slow. The year-over-year gain is 2.5% and the three month growth rate is only 1.8%. Actually, with oil prices falling real weekly earnings ticked up the month before last, the only gain in seven months. But this month average weekly earnings actually fell from $652.51 to $652.18 so unless we are experiencing deflation real wages will fall again this month. Given this weakness in wages and earnings it is extremely difficult to see where growth is going to come from.