Economy

Wages just hit their highest level in a decade

Wages just hit their highest level in a decade

Strong annual wage growth would mirror other data published this week showing wages and salaries rising in the third quarter by the most since mid-2008. September's payrolls count was revised down to 218,000 from 230,000.

But the acceleration in employment growth was likely tempered by Hurricane Michael, which struck Florida in mid-October. Payrolls increased by 134,000 in September, the fewest in a year.

"How hot is the labor market?" That was the lowest jobless reading in 49 years.

The private sector added 227,000 jobs in October, Automatic Data Processing (ADP) reported Oct. 31, beating analysts' expectations.

A measure of US consumer confidence, released Tuesday, rose in October to a almost two-decade high. Stocks on Wall Street rallied, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq on track to post their first two-day gain this month.

Following a robust third fiscal quarter, wages and salaries in the USA are up by 0.9 percent this month so far - 3.1 percent this year - which is the highest level in a decade. At the same time, the rate of hourly earnings growth in October was at 2.41 percent, rising for the second straight month. The Paychex IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch report for October again reflects a tight labor market, a slight dip in hiring, and an uptick in wages. There were also gains on other industries, including information, healthcare and leisure and hospitality.

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"Broadening wage pressures across industry groups and across the pay scale are helping to drive sustained gains in wages for workers", said Ellen Zentner, chief economist at Morgan Stanley in NY.

"The job market bounced back strongly last month despite being hit by back-to-back hurricanes", Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's, said in a statement on Wednesday, referring to a series of violent hurricanes in the summer months. There were a record 7.1 million job openings in the economy in August, compared with only some 6.2 million unemployed.

The employment-cost index, a measure of wages and benefits for civilian workers, rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8% in July through September, the Labor Department said Wednesday. The ECI is widely viewed by policymakers and economists as one of the better measures of labor market slack.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in September, the lowest level since 1969. That followed a 2.9 percent gain in the year to June.

State- and local-government employees' compensation increased 0.8% on the quarter and was up 2.5% from a year earlier.


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