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American workers are still waiting for their raise

Today's jobs report brought the news that average hourly wages have risen by about 2 percent over the past year, which is about in line with where we've been for almost two years now — better than in the darkest days of the recession but dramatically worse than before the crisis hit.

Here's a chart:

The scale of the gap between the pre-recession and post-recession eras here is very important. There's a lot of debate about whether wages might start rising soon. That's a good thing to talk about since 2 percent vs 2.5 percent vs 3 percent makes a real difference in family's lives. But from the standpoint of public policy, the important thing to remember is that even if wage growth does accelerate to 2.5 or 3 percent over the next several months that would hardly be spectacular or a sign of some crazy recessionary impulse.

At the moment the Fed seems torn between the idea of getting off zero interest rates in June, or bumping it up earlier to March. Looking at this chart, I just can't see what the case for March would possibly be even if the next couple of jobs reports contain really good news.

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