Jun 7, 2021 - Economy & Business

Wages pick up, but unclear how far employers will go

Illustration collage of a person holding a briefcase surrounded by torn pieces of paper and shapes

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The May jobs report provided an injection of optimism, but it's too early to feel confident about the wage growth picture.

Why it matters: Employers have had to raise wages to incentivize workers to come back or to stay. It's unclear how much higher they're willing to go.

  • Last month average hourly earnings rose half a percent, while weekly earnings ticked up just a quarter percent versus April.
  • Average hourly earnings grew nearly 3% for leisure and hospitality roles — where job growth has been strongest — between March and May, notes Invesco's Hooper.

What to watch: In the fall, when schools reopen and supplemental unemployment benefits go away, the data will present a clearer picture of how willing employers are to continue raising wages.

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