The last time U.S. factory workers put in longer weeks than they averaged in February, Rosie the Riveter was on the assembly line and American GIs were fighting Nazis in Europe.
All those extra hours helped to drive five straight months of manufacturing growth in the U.S., racking up 52,000 new factory jobs, according to Labor Department data. That includes 14,000 positions in February alone.
Good news of course, but there is a dark lining to the cloud. I take the heavy reliance on overtime to be another sign of labor market polarization, and of low employer demand for a large number of the unemployed.
Addendum: As Matt Yglesias reports, retail sales are strongly up too.