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Rising wages are coaxing millions of Americans to start looking for jobs

Remarkably, Americans will come to work if you pay them

As it turns out, Americans will come to work if you pay them better.

The U.S. labor force is growing at its fastest rate since the Great Recession, as rising pay prompts millions of Americans to start looking for jobs.

Government numbers out Friday morning showed that 444,000 Americans joined the workforce in September, meaning they got a job or were looking for a job. Over the past year, the ranks of America’s pool of proletarians grew by 3 million. (For the record, the rise in people looking for work actually drove the unemployment rate up to 5 percent in September.)

Why? Because working is starting to pay better.

Average hourly earnings of workers who aren’t managers grew 2.7 percent in September over September 2015. That might not sound great, but it’s the fastest increase since the Great Recession. The increase in pay squares with other data showing levels of U.S. household income rising. Median household incomes had their biggest jump ever last year, rising by 5.2 percent.

There’s been a lot of worry in recent years about why record numbers of working-age Americans weren’t in the labor force. A simple solution seems to be to pay them.


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