February Deindustrialization Report: Biggest One-Month Wage Drop on Record
March 4, 2016 (EIRNS)—While President Obama crowed about the reported 242,000 increase in U.S. employment in February, which was reported on March 4, the holders of those jobs were getting poorer. An 0.8% drop in average weekly wages in February was the largest such decline in a single month since the Labor Department began its employment reports a half-century ago.
Average weekly wages also fell in December, by .2%, and rose in January by 0.4%; so there is a decline of 0.6% over the past three months, and obviously a sharp decline in real wages after inflation.
The U.S. labor force participation rate rose to 62.9%, but the employment increase was entirely in service sectors; total goods-producing employment was reported down by 15,000 in February.
Other indicators continue to show the shrinkage of U.S. industrial activity. The Chicago Purchasing Managers’ Index, a national monthly survey of industry, fell to 47.5 in February, a significant contraction after it was the only such national industrial index which showed expansion in December and January. The employment part of this index has been contracting five months in a row. The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank survey for February produced a blow-out index reading of -34.1, showing the depth of collapse of Wall Street-Texas shale oil bubble in that region. Obviously all the sub-indexes for employment—hours, orders, shipments, prices—were sharply negative as well.
Dallas was the fifth straight Federal Reserve Bank to report manufacturing contraction for February, after the New York, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Richmond district Fed banks.
The Labor Department also reported that gross productivity in the U.S. economy fell by 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2015, and by 1.0% for 2015 as a whole.