For the first time since the stock market crashed in 2008, the nation’s unemployment rate has dropped to below six percent. 248,000 jobs were added in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.
At 6.1 percent in August and 5.9 percent in September, the unemployment rate has continued its decline since the recession peak of 10 percent. September marks the 48th straight month of job growth.
Although the uphill battle since the Great Recession has been painstakingly slow, experts said it has been the steadiest job-market recovery in American history. This story, however, omits a bleaker reality for many Americans—namely, that flat wages persist.
Average hourly earnings are only up 2 percent in the past year. In September they dropped a penny to $24.53, a number barely on pace with inflation. The trend in stagnant wages is not new. Inflation-adjusted median household incomes has remained essentially the same for nearly 25 years, according to Quartz. But wages for those who fall in the top 5 percent income bracket—$196,000 or more—have soared since the financial crisis.
If unemployment trends continue as they have, economist Bill McBride predicts that the economy is “on pace to be the best year for both total and private sector job growth since 1999.”