Multiple Jobholders Surge To Highest Since August 2008

As we noted earlier, while the headline payrolls print blew away consensus estimates, printing above the highest expectations, there was a rather unpleasant number in the data: nominal average hourly wages actually dipped by 1 cent to $25.24. 

What caused this? There are three reasons.

First: the continued surge of minimum wage jobs, as seen in the chart below, which shows that in December another 36,900 minimum wage waiters and bartenders were added to the labor force, bringing the total to a new record high of 11.3 million.


Putting this in context, here is a chart showing the relative addition of waiter, bartender jobs in 2015 vs high-paying manufacturing jobs. No comment necessary.


And longer-term chart: since December 2007.


Second: a troubling finding from the report was the continued surge in temp-help workers. In fact, as the BLS admitted, while employment in professional and business services increased by 73,000 in December, temporary help services accounting for nearly half, or 34,000, of the gain. As the chart below shows, jumping the 34K jump in December brought the number of temp-worker to a new all time high.


Third: the most troubling aspect of today's jobs report, and perhaps the clearest explanation why there was no wage growth in December, is that the number of multiple job holders soared by 324,000 bringing the total to 7.738 million. This was the highest since August 2008, which as a reminder is the month before the great financial crisis started.


And, as Lakshman Achuthan shows, "people need multiple jobs to make ends meet"

So yes: jobs grew, and yet the BLS itself admits that of the 290,000 job additions, more than all came from 1 worker who had to work 2 or more jobs.

End result: average hourly wages declined from $25.25 to $25.24.