U.S. Employment Costs Rise More Than Forecast as Pay Jumps

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Average hourly earnings are forecast rising 0.2 percent in October after advancing 0.3 percent in September.

Wages and salaries were up 2.9 percent in the 12 months through September.

The Employment Cost Index, the broadest measure of labor costs, increased 0.8 percent after an unrevised 0.6 percent rise in the second quarter, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. With unemployment at 3.7 percent, the uptick in wage growth suggests that businesses are ramping up efforts to expand their payrolls with greater compensation.The ADP national employment report, also released Wednesday, showed private businesses adding 227,000 jobs in October, beating economists' expectations for an increase of 189,000.

USA workers are seeing the largest nominal wage increase in a decade, the Labor Department reported Wednesday, as companies compete harder for employees than they did in recent years. The ECI is widely viewed by policymakers and economists as a reliable predictor of core inflation. "Testimonial to the robust employment picture is the broad-based gains in jobs across industries". There are a record 7.1-M job unfilled openings in the economy. Wage growth was boosted by a surge in transportation and warehousing, likely reflecting a shortage of truck drivers. Payrolls rose by 134,000 jobs in September, the smallest gain in a year, after Hurricane Florence drenched North and SC, weighing on restaurant and retail employment.

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Firming wages support views that inflation will hover around the Fed's 2.0 percent target for a while.

The economy grew at an annual pace of 3.5 percent in the third quarter, after the blockbuster 4.2 percent in second quarter, GDP data shows.

A tightening labor market is steadily pushing up wage growth.

The Present Situation Index - based on consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions - turned in an even bigger gain, rising from 169.4 to 172.8.

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A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.4 percent, matching a 17-year low hit in August. The consumer price index climbed 2.3 percent in that time.

That is seen supporting the economy through at least early 2019 when gross domestic product is expected to significantly slow as the stimulus from the Trump administration's $1.5 trillion tax cut package fades.

"The report shows a booming US economy with a sufficient whiff of wage inflation to keep the Fed on track to raise rates in December and at least twice next year", said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds in NY.

Manufacturing expanded by 17,000 jobs and construction gained just as many.

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Information for this article was contributed by Heather Long of The Washington Post; by Christopher Rugaber of The Associated Press; and by Shobhana Chandra of Bloomberg News.

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