The national unemployment rate is almost back to where it was before the Great Recession. Ordinarily that would lead us to expect a tighter labor market with rising wages and shortages in certain occupations. But the economy has been anything but ordinary, especially the labor market. The labor force participation rate has plummeted and many analysts think that once the labor market looks better, more people who are currently sitting on the sidelines will start looking for work. If this happens, there likely will not be an uptick in wages for the average worker.
Many CFOs are expecting to have to give larger raises, according to Saturday's WSJ. Wage rates have been flat since the recession started. In a survey jointly performed by the Fuqua School of Business and CFO Magazine, CFOs expect wages to increase by 3% in the coming 12 months. WSJ thinks that firms will have to accept smaller profit margins as a result, although raising prices or cutting non-labor costs are other options.
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