A jobs report silver lining: Wages are increasing

University of Pennsylvania's Betsey Stevenson notices one nugget of good news in an otherwise dismal jobs report: Workers are earning more.

The average worker earns 45 cents more per hour than she did a year ago, and six cents more in June than she did the month prior. Hours are on the uptick, too: The average work week for private sector employees grew by 0.1 hours between May and June.

That's a relatively new trend: As Suzy noted awhile back, wages grew by 2.8 percent in the last quarter of 2011, the fastest they had gone up since the end of 2008.

Working a few more hours at a slightly higher wage, means workers see a growing paycheck. They might have more bargaining power to demand a higher salary, too. Their higher spending power could provide a bit of stimulus to a struggling economy.

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Ezra Klein · July 6, 2012