Official GDP numbers show the economy averaged annualized growth of 4.3 percent in the second and third quarters.
But, "according to the man on the street, this is hard to believe," writes MarketWatch Chief Economist Irwin Kellner
Growth of that magnitude is associated with full employment, plentiful desirable jobs, and wages growing faster than inflation, he points out.
"Guess what? It's not happening, this time around."
Although Kellner wrote his column prior to the November jobs report, he notes that October's 5.8 percent unemployment rate, which didn't change in November, is "far from full employment."
In addition, "there are all those labor-force dropouts, not to mention those who are working well below their capacity," he says.
The labor force participation rate totaled 62.8 percent last month, unchanged from October and barely above September's 36-year low of 62.7 percent.
"Given this environment, it should not be surprising that wages have stagnated," Kellner writes. "Indeed, they are barely keeping up with inflation."
Average hourly wages rose 2.1 percent in the 12 months through November, and consumer prices climbed 1.7 percent in the 12 months through October.
To be sure, November's 321,000 job gain has many economists enthusiastic.
"You've got this really nice dynamic going on in that there's more jobs growth, more spending, stronger GDP growth, which in turn means more jobs being created," Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for IHS, tells Bloomberg
. "It's just a very good cycle to be in right now."
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