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Expand chart
Data: Deutsche Bank Research; Chart: Axios

The March jobs report showed that nationwide, wage growth is settling in right above 3%, but it has been growing much faster for retail workers. Unlike most segments of the economy, retail workers' wages are now growing faster than they were during the boom years of the early 2000s.

The big picture: The outperformance is being driven by a combination of state-by-state legislation and a shrinking talent pool.

Target, which employs more than 300,000 workers and operates 1,845 stores in the U.S., announced last week that it was raising its minimum wage to $13 an hour. It raised it to $12 an hour, from $11, just last year. Pressure is now going on Walmart, the world's largest retailer, to likewise increase its $11 hourly minimum wage.

Companies like Amazon and Costco are paying workers a $15 an hour minimum.

The impact: Retail wages stand apart from the crowd, but data shows that broadly low-wage workers are beginning to see higher wage gains, on a percentage basis, than high-wage workers.

  • In March, Goldman Sachs analysts pointed out in a note to clients that "wage growth has picked up sharply in the bottom half of the wage distribution, with considerably slower growth in the upper half."
  • "This pattern is consistent with our prior finding that lower income wage growth is more sensitive to slack, while higher income wage growth is more sensitive to corporate profitability."

Conor Sen, a portfolio manager for New River Investments, writes for Bloomberg that the trend looks likely to continue.

  • "As long as the economic expansion continues, because of these dynamics, we should expect service labor wage growth to continue outpacing knowledge worker wage growth."
  • "You can't outsource a line cook or an Uber driver to another city, but companies can shift their knowledge jobs to lower-cost metros."

Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

9 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.