Blue-collar jobs reportedly are growing at their fastest clip in more than 30 years, powering a hiring boom in many small towns and rural areas that are strong supporters of President Donald Trump ahead of November’s midterm elections.
Jobs in industries such as mining, construction and manufacturing rose 3.3 percent in the year preceding July, the best rate since 1984, a Washington Post analysis found.
A rally in oil prices, the need to rebuild after such natural disasters such as Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, and rising labor demand generated by a growing economy have all fueled the surge, the Post explained.
“Rural employment grew at an annualized rate of 5.1 percent in the first quarter. Smaller metro areas grew 5.0 percent. That’s significantly larger than the 4.1 percent growth seen in large urban areas that recovered earlier from the Great Recession, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program of a separate set of Labor Department data released on Wednesday,” the Post reported.
“In the past year, the economy has added 656,000 blue-collar jobs, compared to 1.7 million added in the services sector. But the rate of growth in blue-collar jobs is speeding up, while service-sector job growth has hovered around 1.3 percent over the past year,” the Post explained.
Meanwhile, U.S. workers may be finally getting a pay raise — and perhaps more importantly, they’re earning it by becoming more efficient, Bloomberg reported.
Average hourly earnings for private workers increased 2.9 percent in August from a year earlier, the most since the recession ended in mid-2009, the Labor Department said Friday. The gains were broad-based, ranging from manufacturing to retail.
The fatter paychecks coincide with rising worker productivity. Friday’s jobs data suggest that the jump in output per hour worked seen last quarter was no fluke and laborers are earning their raises by being more proficient.
“The long-awaited improvement in productivity growth has finally arrived, at least for now,” Gad Levanon, chief economist for North America at the New York-based Conference Board, said in an email.
That’s good news for the economy. Stronger productivity allows companies to pay their workers more and maintain profit margins without having to raise prices. That means gross domestic product can grow faster without generating higher inflation and that the Federal Reserve can remain patient in raising interest rates.
Material from Bloomberg and Reuters were used in this report.
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