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Uneven Wage Gains Restrain Recovery

Wall Street Journal (03/20/14) Jonathan House

Workers in some industries are seeing explosive wage growth, while workers in other industries continue to struggle financially. Skilled blue-collar construction and oil field workers are commanding top pay due to a shortage of qualified people. Otherwise, wages are “signaling weakness in the labor market,” says U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen.

High unemployment the last several years has suppressed wages. Average annual increases in hourly earnings have lingered near 2%, before adjusting for inflation. Wages grew by 3% in 2007, prior to the recession.