New Bureau of Labor Statistics Report Needs to be Examined Closely

Phoenix, AZ – Half of the study is no surprise. The number of Arizonans working
at the end of 2009 was 6 percent less than a year earlier. At the
same time, though, the BLS also reports that the average wage of
Arizonans who do have jobs was up 3.3 percent, higher than the
national average. But economist Dan Anderson said it would be
wrong to presume that people who are employed are in fact
bringing home more money. He said it's just one of those things
that happens when companies are forced to lay off workers.

(They usually don't let go their most senior people. They let go
the people who have the least amount of time with the employer.
And the nature of the job is those are usually your lower paid
employees, you know, first-hired, first fired kind of idea.)

So with the lower-paid workers now unemployed, it means the
average salary of everyone who remains is, by definition
higher. Conversely, when the economy begins to improve, the
average wage will drop.

(When you begin to hire people, at what wage do you usually hire
new staff? Well, you don't hire them at the average or above the
average of the people you have on staff. You hire them in at an
entry-level wage.)

Put very simply, it's a math thing. For Arizona Public Radio this
is Howard Fischer.