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A Very Selective Recovery

12:03 PM, Aug 19, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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If the economic recovery is dismissed as a chimera by half the population, there is a reason. As Aki Ito, Ian Katz, and Ilan Kolet of Bloomberg report:

Five years of economic expansion have done almost nothing to boost paychecks for typical American workers while the rich have gotten richer.

Meager improvements since 2009 have barely kept up with a similarly tepid pace of inflation, raising the real value of compensation per hour by only 0.5 percent. That marks the weakest growth since World War II, with increases averaging 9.2 percent at a similar point in past expansions, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data compiled by Bloomberg.

The fact of stagnant wages is a huge overhang for the economy and:

… linked to a question puzzling economists and policy makers alike: How many able and willing workers still are waiting on the sidelines? The issue may be among topics Yellen and other central bankers discuss this week at their annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the focus will be on the labor market. Until the economy burns through this excess capacity, employers have little incentive to give raises to attract and maintain employees.

The president is meeting with his economic advisors this afternoon.

Maybe they’ll think of something.

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