VDARE — American businesses added 151,000 jobs in January, sharply slower than December’s rate of gain but good enough to push unemployment to its lowest rate in eight years (4.9%.) Wages rose a robust 0.5%. Many economists attributed this to a “tightening” labor market, but there were other factors, including minimum wage hikes that kicked in in many states on January 1st.
The U.S. economy just witnessed the two best years of job growth—2014 and 2015, in that order—since 1999. But something doesn’t feel right. Real economic growth has been limping along at a 2.1% rate since the Great Recession ended. The problem: worker productivity is down. New workers are simply not producing as much as the older ones.