U.S. Employment and Wage Growth Accelerating


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Wage growth acceleration should soon be reflected in the largest of U.S. government surveys, according to researchers from Principal Global Investors.

Chief Global Economist Bob Baur and Senior Global Economist Robin Anderson analyzed new data from the retirement plan clients of the Principal Financial Group® and found that wage growth for this group is accelerating faster than what the U.S. government surveys show. As the labor market continues to tighten, it will create an “employees’ market.”

“Indicators for job openings, hiring plans and actual compensation are near cyclical highs,” said Baur. “Wage growth is a key sign of economic growth. It boosts consumer spending, expands business revenue and encourages business investment. All of this signals that the U.S. economy could be strong enough for the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates this year.”

Findings include:

  • Retirement client data shows wage growth is well ahead of U.S. government surveys and that broad wage growth may finally be starting to accelerate
  • Principal Global Investors’ economists’ research confirms continuing wage growth from previous report -- the latest data from The Principal shows wages up 3.8%
  • Employment and wage data from The Principal show improvement in the labor market, evidence that the market is strong enough for the Fed to start raising rates this year

While the data from The Principal trends toward small-to-medium sized business, full-time and slightly older workers, the results show the labor market is improving.

“We continue to see strong trends in wage growth in our data. This aligns with lesser known but more predictive government series,” said Anderson. “As the economy starts to improve, especially as more people move into full-time work, we will see wage growth in government series look more like what we are seeing in our data.”

This paper is a continuation of research released in January predicting wage growth that has since manifested in some government reports. The new research foresees a continuation of that wage growth at an accelerated rate.

About Principal Global Investors

Principal Global Investors is a diversified asset management organization and a member of the Principal Financial Group®, with expertise in equities, fixed income and real estate investments, as well as specialized overlay and advisory services. Principal Global Investors manages $346.2 billion in assets1 primarily for retirement plans and other institutional clients.

About the Principal Financial Group

The Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®)3 is a global investment management leader offering retirement services, insurance solutions and asset management. The Principal offers businesses, individuals and institutional clients a wide range of financial products and services, including retirement, asset management and insurance through its diverse family of financial services companies. Founded in 1879 and a member of the FORTUNE 500®, the Principal Financial Group has $539.9 billion in assets under management4 and serves some 20.1 million customers worldwide from offices in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and the United States. Principal Financial Group, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PFG. For more information, visit www.principal.com.

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