Hicks: Market Favorable For Workers

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Hicks says the current environment "is among the most favorable for workers since the late 1990s." Hicks says the current environment "is among the most favorable for workers since the late 1990s."

A Ball State University economist says now is a good time to look for a new job or ask for a pay raise. Center for Business and Economic Research Director Mike Hicks says job growth paired with a tight labor market makes the current job scene favorable for workers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs in January, and wages rose at the fastest pace in more than eight years. The national unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent. The bureau also revised November and December employment growth figures down.

Hicks says the some of the best news from workers comes from hourly wages outpacing inflation by a full percentage point year-over-year in January. Many states saw new minimum wage rules go into effect in January. However, Hicks says weekly earnings in sectors including retail, leisure and hospitality declined, suggesting employees in those industries ended up working fewer hours.

In all, Hicks says the numbers reflect an environment "that is among the most favorable for workers since the late 1990s."

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