1/31/18, "Employment Costs in U.S. Match Fastest 12-Month Gain Since 2008," Bloomberg, Sho Chandra
"Total U.S. employee compensation rose in the fourth quarter and matched the biggest 12-month gain since 2008, as private-sector pay picked up, Labor Department figures showed Wednesday.
"Highlights of Employment Costs (Fourth Quarter)"
- Index rose 0.6% q/q (matching est.) after 0.7% gain in prior three months
- Wages and salaries rose 0.5% q/q following 0.7% gain
- Benefit costs increased 0.5% q/q after rising 0.8%
- Total compensation, which includes wages and benefits, rose 2.6% over past 12 months; matches 1Q 2015 as highest since 2008.
Key TakeawaysPrivate-sector wages and salaries rose from a year earlier by 2.8 percent, also matching the best gain of this expansion. Several industry groups registered increases of 3 percent or higher, led by transportation and material moving at 3.5 percent and service occupations at 3.3 percent, underscoring demand for labor.
While wage growth has gradually improved, a sustained acceleration is yet to occur in the current economic expansion. The latest year-over-year increase in compensation indicates employers are making more generous offers as they compete for workers in the tightening labor market....
January data on jobs and wages are due Friday in the Labor Department’s monthly employment report. Employers probably added around 180,000 workers to payrolls, the jobless rate held at 4.1 percent and average hourly earnings rose 2.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the median estimates of economists....
- Wages and salaries of all civilian workers rose 2.5 percent from year earlier, same as third quarter
- Benefit costs in private industry rose 2.3 percent from fourth quarter of 2016, down from 2.4 percent in prior quarter
- Employer costs for health benefits rose 1.1 percent from year ago and 2017 increase was slowest since 1995; Labor Department said “substantial” number of employers don’t respond on health-care benefit cost estimates, leaving “fewer observations supporting these estimates”"