Jobs Report Tells Simple American Narrative: You're Struggling

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The latest jobs report exposed a simple American narrative: economic conditions are improving, but middle class Americans are struggling.

The Labor Department reported Friday that nonfarm payrolls in May increased by 217,000 while the unemployment rate stayed at 6.3%, but a glance at the numbers shoved inside revealed OK wage growth and below-average improvement in manufacturing and construction.

A deeper dive in the report shows that hourly wages increased 2.1% year-over-year, which was 0.1 percentage point better than what economists expected. Unfortunately, this wage growth isn't enough for U.S. workers.

"The yearly growth rate for wages still doesn't impress very much," Ben Garber, an economist at Moody's Analytics said in an interview. "At this point in the recovery you want it close to 3%, 4%; it's not really showing a great tightness in the labor market, it's not pressuring prices higher, so there's still a lot of slack in the economy."

The bulk of the jobs added came from private services, according to data compiled by FAO Economics chief economist Robert Brusca, who broke out the percentile of a handful of job categories to give context of how well each sector performed during May relative to every other month since the economy began posting employment increases in October 2010.

Manufacturing and construction underperformed in May, posting their 26th best and 23rd best months in the recovery, respectively, according to Brusca's data. By percentile that means May construction job growth was in the 41st percentile while manufacturing was in the 48th percentile.

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