The February 2019 job numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today contain both bad and good news. Many are disappointed that the economy added only 20,000 new jobs last month. However, as Breitbart’s John Carney points out, “February’s number is so low and such a deep departure from the prior months that many market watchers expect it will be revised upward.”
On the positive side, unemployment fell from 4 percent in January to 3.8 percent.
What is even better news – especially from the perspective of the average American – is that wages are rising. According to the BLS: “In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 11 cents to $27.66, following a 2-cent gain in January. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.4 percent.”
Even the leftist website Vox admitted that “that’s much faster than they’ve been growing since the recession started in 2007,” while simultaneously complaining of “sky-high payouts corporate CEOs are getting.”
Vox adds that “because gas prices have been dropping too, the cost of living is going down, so workers are feeling more of a financial cushion.”
Rising wages and a declining cost of living are good news. We should pursue policies that will keep this positive trend going.
Unfortunately, the notion that the U.S. “needs more foreign workers” – parroted by many business interests and pro-open-borders lobbying organizations and think-tanks (and, sadly, also the president) – threatens to undermine rising wages.
This is a simple matter of supply and demand (i.e. Economics 101). The labor market is increasingly tightening. Therefore, it makes sense that wages are climbing. That is what the upward mobility element of the “American Dream” is all about, after all.
Let us not jeopardize this by importing more foreign labor to compete with Americans. Those pushing the mantra of the “labor shortage” crisis – which is a myth that has been repeated ad nauseam for decades – should first consider investing in Americans that have been left behind. Otherwise, American society will ultimately pay the price of depressed or stagnant wages, urban overcrowding, supporting the relatives brought in by foreign workers, and other negative externalities.