Oct 29, 2021 - Economy

U.S. wages and salaries jump 1.5% in last quarter

Data: Employment Cost Index, via U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

America's pay gains just logged a fresh record: wages and salaries surged at the fastest pace ever last quarter.

Why it matters: The data out Friday morning is considered a better gauge of wage gains than others because it's not impacted by the drastic workforce shifts we've seen during the pandemic.

The backdrop: Employers are still doling out pay hikes in an attempt to break a labor shortage stalemate.

  • Costco this week made a last-ditch effort to lure (and keep) workers as the all-important holiday season looms: effective Monday, employees will make a minimum of $17 an hour.
  • It's the second pay raise in eight months (Costco upped it to $16 in February).

What to watch: The retail sector's trade group said Wednesday the sector will hire up to 665,000 seasonal workers this season — one sign of the ferocious appetite by employers to keep up with the demand they expect for their goods.

  • That would be 179,000 more holiday hires than last year, if they can find the people.

One big asterisk: "With prices up 4.4% over the last 12 months, wage increases are barely keeping pace with inflation," economists at Brean Capital wrote Friday.

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