April 29, 2020

The employment cost index for civilian workers climbed at a 3.2% rate in the first quarter.   Over the course of the past year it has risen 2.8%.  But this is a first quarter number and the world has changed in the past six weeks.  More than 23 million Americans have lost their jobs

With the unemployment rate likely to rise to 15% or so in May, there is no longer going to be upward pressure on wages caused by the very tight labor market.  Quite the opposite.

Wages climbed at a 3.8% rate in the first quarter and have risen 3.2% in the past year.

Benefits climbed at a 1.4% rate in the first quarter and have risen 2.0% in the past year.

Stephen Slifer

NumberNomics

Charleston, SC