Re Wage Growth: Move Along FOMC, Not Much to See Here

April 26th, 2014 at 7:40 pm

What with the Fed’s Open Market Committee meeting next week and given that there’s been a bit of press around some acceleration in wage growth, allow me to share an index* of three wage series: the hourly wage rate of blue-collar, non-managerial workers; the median weekly earnings of full-time workers, and average hourly compensation.


Source: BLS, see text.

I’m working on a longer piece that references this amalgamated series, so I wanted to post it, but the punchline is there’s no wage pressure to speak of.  Some series—interestingly, those of middle and lower wage workers—have accelerated a bit in recent months, and that’s good!  Others, like the overall average hour wage, average hourly compensation, and the Employment Cost Index (also an all-in compensation measure), have not, as shown in this next figure (hourly comp is especially noisy).


Source: BLS

And most importantly, both actual (i.e., core PCE—the Fed preferred measure) and expected inflation, remain below the Fed’s 2% target.  Actual inflation, in anything, has decelerated in recent months.

*First principal component of the yr/yr changes in the three series.

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