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Megan McArdle

Sick of Slow Wage Growth? Here's Who to Blame

Among the culprits: China, robots and baby boomers.
Production without people.
Photographer: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The U.S. unemployment rate is 4.3 percent. That’s not just good; it’s fantastic. The last time unemployment was that low, “Stutter” was topping the Billboard charts, George W. Bush had just been sworn in as president, and Osama Bin Laden was a name known only to a few national security wonks.

Everywhere you look, you see signs of a tight labor market. Employers are complaining that they can’t find the workers they need, and when you look at the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (aka Jolts), you see that openings are up, while unemployment claims have fallen. Americans are less likely to be laid off than they have been in decades.