It seems that the shadow of the 2008 recession has finally started to lift in a substantial way, with more jobs being added to the economy and unemployment slowly but steadily dropping. But as some career hopefuls are finding, the increase in jobs and the dip in unemployment isn’t necessarily translating into higher wages.

Recent information released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that while the number of jobs available is on the rise, the average wage is lagging behind, stuck in stagnation.

Jobs up, unemployment down
Business owners and prospective job-seekers alike know that despite popular conception to the contrary, it’s been a hard few years since 2008. Fortunately things seem to be turning around in the job market – this time for real. The numbers don’t lie, and according to figures released by the BLS, 295,000 jobs were added to the economy in February 2015. More jobs, however, don’t necessarily mean higher employment, but there is good news on this front as well, with the source reporting that the national unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest in seven years, at 5.5 percent.

It was noted that most of the jobs that were created were in the food industry and service categories. However, as the Society for Human Resource Management noted, this is still a positive sign – increased demand for jobs in these sectors correlates to higher levels of consumer confidence, and thus more people are out spending money.

What about the wages?
While the employment report from the BLS is good news, it still leaves room for growth in the area of employee wages. According to the SHRM, the average hourly wage has remained largely unchanged, seeing only a 3-cent growth to $24.78 per hour. In contrast with the rate at which jobs are being created, it would seem that hourly wages – shown here to enjoy only a 2 percent increase – are having a hard time catching up.

In fact, SHRM noted that, when inflation is taken into account, many sectors have actually seen a decrease in hourly wage, with employees with bachelor’s degrees seeing a 1.3 percent relative drop in pay from 2013 to 2014. This drop was sharper for those with graduate degrees, who saw their relative hourly wages shrink by 2.2 percent in the same period.

Employers who want to capitalize on the growing job market and also want to retain their staff with competitive pay can turn to PEO companies. These entities offer valuable HR outsourcing without the need to hire an in-house department.