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U.S. Labor Costs Remain Subdued

Wall Street Journal (11/19/13) Josh Mitchell

The U.S. Department of Labor’s employment-cost index shows that labor costs, including pay and benefits, climbed in the third quarter, up 0.4% from the second quarter and 1.9% from the third quarter of 2012. Labor cost increases held steady during the summer months as hiring slowly picked up, but annual increases during the four-year economic recovery have been much lower than the more than 3% annual gains recorded before the recession. The report indicates that wages and salaries rose 0.3% in the third quarter, following a 0.4% increase in the second quarter, and benefit costs edged up 0.7% in the third quarter, compared with a 0.4% increase in the second quarter.