Job Growth Points to Strengthening Economy

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Job growth is improving, and President Obama is calling again for an increase in the federal minimum wage.

There should be some encouraging signs in the new monthly jobs report from the federal government.

The official federal jobs report will be released Friday. The private-sector version is published a couple days earlier by payroll company ADP. While it doesn’t include government jobs, it looks pretty good.

Private-sector employers added 215,000 jobs in November, the ADP report says, which is the strongest number in a year. More importantly, many of them come with decent pay. The report shows that hiring picked up in the construction, manufacturing and financial industries.

“Those are high-paying and middle-income jobs,” Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi told CNNMoney. “That’s very positive news.”

Zandi, whose employer helps compile the ADP report, said he expected only about 150,000 jobs per month at this point.

The news came the same day that President Obama gave a speech about the economy and economic inequality in the U.S. In it, he called again for an increase to the federal minimum wage, and pointed to fast-food and retail workers as people who “work their tails off and are still living at or barely above poverty,” according to The Guardian.

“That’s why it’s well past the time to raise a minimum wage that, in real terms right now, is below where it was when Harry Truman was in office,” Obama said.

The president has said he will back a Senate proposal to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10.

Stacy Johnson

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