The American economy added 213,000 jobs in March, continuing the slow but steady pace of the Obama economic recovery:
For the past several years, economists — and the general public — have been waiting for the kind of robust economic growth we saw in the 1990s. This kind of growth draws a lot of previously discouraged workers back into the labor force and pushes up wages.
But there's no sign that that's happening. Wages grew by 2.3 percent, only slightly faster than the rate of inflation:
After several years of decline, the unemployment rate actually ticked upward to 5 percent — though that may prove to be simply noise in the data.
The most positive sign in the latest data is the labor force participation rate. This reflects the fraction of the population that is either working or looking for work. It has been falling ever since the recession. Over the past six months, it has finally started to turn around, but it still has a lot of ground to make up:
Economist Justin Wolfers notes that we've now enjoyed the longest period of continuous job growth in American history — 73 months. But without the rising wages that signal a truly robust economic boom, voters don't seem very happy about it.