NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- They say no news is good news. This week, that's particularly true for the job market.
The Fed's decision to hold off on a rate hike bought some more time for our plodding economic recovery, in which the employment picture has improved, but wage growth and labor force participation remain depressed.
Employers, are you listening? You've got a little more time to expand your payrolls and invest in your workers while money is cheap not just for you, but also for the consumers who buy your goods.
So, while you can: get producing, get hiring, and start raising those wages!
Okay, so maybe prodding isn't the best approach. But by keeping the federal funds rate on this unprecedented run on the zero-lower-bound, that's exactly what the Fed is trying to do: provoke this economy into growing a little stronger.
Usually, raising rates is a way to cool off a heating economy. But with GDP growth still in the low 2% range and inflation showing no issues of going too high, we all know this isn't about cooling things off.
Rather, the Fed's desire to raise rates is about getting back to a bit of normalcy. Besides, if this is the most powerful tool in the Fed kit, what is it going to do if things get rocky and there's no lever to pull? If the Fed gradually increases rates, it will eventually get back into a position of having options.
But that is looking down the road. Right now, an extension of the zero rates is reason to celebrate.
First and foremost, we don't yet have to start accepting that slow wage growth and low labor force participation is the new normal for our economy. Industries that run on credit can relax a bit, meaning realtors, automakers, and consumer goods producers can keep on their steady run.
Most importantly, people who may be sitting on the sidelines may be incentivized to return to the labor market, which would be good for the economy, but also just good for them.
The U.S. is an aging population, but it's also one with a lot of people who want to work if the opportunity is right, and when they work, can spend and put back into the economy. New opportunities may also encourage workers to quit current jobs that aren't a good fit for them in order to move to better jobs where they'll be more productive and happier.
While some are worried that a little more time at zero rates may overheat the economy, it also gives the chance for pressure to build up on employers to make jobs more appealing to workers. If there is demand out there for a product and profit to be made, employers will have the incentive to work hard to fill positions.
We may worry about higher wages being passed through into higher prices, but there's also the chance for real wage gains if firms invest in ways to make their workers more productive and share more of the profits with them.
There are a few downsides, of course. First, we need to keep waiting, which means more uncertainty for businesses and the markets. Second, this suggests that the Fed still isn't feeling great about our economic recovery. We may have known that, and it may be reassuring that policymakers confirm what people at home are feeling, but solidifying that sense may cause some employers to stay conservative.
That said, no news was good news for those workers who are still in search of a recovery. Let's hope that, before the Fed moves, the labor market will have taken a few more steps forward as well.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor.