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Expand chart
Data: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Note: Seasonally adjusted; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Wage growth, up 2.9% in August from the year before, was the standout figure in Friday's jobs report.

Why it matters: For almost a decade, weak wage growth has defied the economic recovery and has bedeviled workers. Perhaps no longer, according to Joseph Song, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Song predicts this is just the beginning of "better wage dynamics," and it could continue in coming months.

Stagnant wages had become a bit of a paradox: With falling unemployment, companies should have been trying to bid wages higher to retain talent and compete for workers. Now we're close to a wage growth rate we haven't seen in almost a decade, as 2009 was the last time paychecks grew 3% year-over-year.

  • This is another signal that the Fed — which called the lack of wage growth a "puzzle" earlier this year — will stay on track to raise rates at least once more in 2018. Maybe twice more, depending on whom you ask.
  • Wage growth was not isolated to just a few industries: Most sectors showed wages were up from prior months.
  • Workers should feel confident that if they switch jobs, they might find another gig that will pay them even more.
  • But, Song cautions, we have been "head faked" with strong wages before. Some of the uptick in wages could be revised away in coming months.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.