Even as the number of jobs available has increased in recent years, one of the most significant concerns about the strength of the American labor market was wage stagnation.
Prices increased, as is the norm, but annual median income got stuck in neutral throughout and after the Great Recession -- and in many cases, income fell. From 2009 through 2012, median income fell by four percent. That's in direct contrast to the growth of GDP, which increased by four percent.
Such is the norm of recession periods. The Pew Research Center offers research going back to 1970, which shows cyclical dips in median income from 1970 to 2006. Coincidentally, the next year, 2007, marked the last of income growth in the United States.
That is, the last until 2015. And the gains reported are dramatic, with wages up on average by nearly five percent.
At almost $57,000, the current median annual income is approaching a high established in 1999. And perhaps the best news for job seekers is that the growth is reportedly coming from middle-class fields, which make up the bulk of the American economic landscape.
Increased wages suggest a more favorable market for job seekers, as prospective employers must offer more to bring on and retain talent.
Understanding the market rate for your field is crucial when approaching wage increases with your employer. Even if you're not actively searching and applying for jobs, knowing the make-up of the marketplace will have you better prepared when looking for an increase in your wages with your current employer.
The CareerCast.com database can be a great resource for researching these trends. Finding salaries in your field amid the current growth will have you prepared to talk raise with your boss.