tight labor markets--produced by growth and maybe a boost in immigration enforcement--eventually raise wages at the bottom, and we are starting to see that.
Wages, which initially lagged behind job growth as the economy recovered from its 2001 recession, continued their more recent growth ... [snip]
Average hourly earnings of production workers increased by 6 cents to $17.22, and weekly earnings rose by $3.75 to $583.76. Over the last year, hourly earnings have risen by 4% and weekly earnings by 4.4%.
Thus, earnings are rising faster than price inflation, which, excluding food and energy, rose 2.4% in the most recent 12 months.
P.S.: Note that the government's "average hourly earnings" figures have been controversial in the past because they appear to understate wage gains. If even they show an improvement ... Update: Drum comments. I originally got my criticisms of the "average hourly earnings" data from Barry Bosworth, who has a paper on the subject here, which I'd happily pay for if I could figure out how. ... 2:58 A.M.
Zell Kvells! William Beutler says Sam Zell has "no idea what he's talking about" when it comes to the Internet. ... Holman Jenkins thinks the Zell/Tribune deal won't go through once the shockingly favorable (to Zell) details are exposed. ... 1:25 A.M.
Debate A: Was launching the war a good idea in 2003?
Debate B: Should we "surge" or withdraw in 2007?
Haven't the Democrats, by prosecuting their funding fight with Bush over setting a withdrawal deadline, succeeded in changing the Iraq debate from A to B? From a debate over the war to a debate over the surge? From a debate about the last four years to a debate about the last four months?
And if so, isn't that a really dumb thing for them to do? Debate A looks like a sure winner for Democrats--it's hard to see anything happening between now and 2008 that would convince a majority of voters that starting the war in the first place was a good idea. Debate B, on the other hand, looks much iffier, as the surge shows at least some signs of at least temporary success. Even if the Democrats are right on Debate B they might lose Debate B. The more the surge succeeds, the more Debate B becomes a tossup. But even with a muddled "surge" scorecard, Debate B might skew against the Democrats if the aftermath of a pullout continues to look bloody and chaotic.**