By Quinton D. Howard
In the month of February, the United States economy added 295,000 jobs. The private-sector added 215,000 jobs this past month, marking the 60th consecutive month of private-sector job growth. This streak extends the record for most consecutive months of private-sector job growth in United States history and within the 60-month span; 12 million jobs have been added to the economy. The unemployment rate remains at 5.5% nationally, after falling from 5.7% back in January.
America has not seen an unemployment rate this low since May 2008 (5.4%) and some economist are suggesting that we may be close to reaching “full employment.”
Despite the positive numbers from February’s jobs report, some American citizens are still concerned about the overall state of our economy. Wages have been on the mind of many Americans and for good reason.
Over the last 12 months, wages have increased a mere 2%. Recently, there has been a popular movement to increase the federal minimum wage in the Unite States.
In fact, a GALLUP poll asked voters if they would vote for or against a law that would raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour and 76% voted “for,” while 22% voted “against,” and the remainder voted “no opinion.” The debate has even reached the opinions of students at William Peace University.
2014 Orientation Leader and Junior at WPU, Aaron Mull, comments “if the minimum wage increases, than the price of everything will go up. I do not want to live in a society where the price of everything is ridiculous, regardless of the amount of income I earn from working.”
Those who oppose a federal wage increase have do have supporting factual evidence. Overall, inflation has not increased over the past 12 months, partly because of the country’s lesser usage of gasoline.
Ideally, a minimum wage increase is only necessary if wages are not keeping pace with inflation, and lately, inflation is under control. President Obama has publicly endorsed an increase of the federal minimum wage, but with two years remaining in his tenure and a Republican-led House and Senate, passing any form of legislation will be difficult.
Bottom line, America is creating jobs, the national price of gas is $2.45/per gallon (approximately $1 less than it was one year ago), the current inflation rate is -0.1%, and the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Stabilization of the economy is behind us and prosperity is eminent if progression continues.
Clearly, America is back, or is it?