UNITED STATES NEWS

US wages and benefits jump as economy reopens

Apr 30, 2021, 8:00 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wages and benefits grew quickly for U.S. workers in the first three months of the year, a sign that businesses are starting to offer higher pay to fill newly-opened jobs.

U.S. workers’ total compensation rose 0.9% in the January-March quarter, the largest gain in more than 13 years, the Labor Department said Friday. That’s up from 0.7% in the final three months of last year. Still, the increase is just barely above 0.8% gains in two quarters in 2018.

The solid rise comes after weaker increases during the pandemic, when the unemployment rate initially shot to nearly 15% before declining steadily to 6% in March. As a result, workers’ pay and benefits rose just 2.6% in the year ending in March, down from 2.8% a year earlier.

The data comes from the Labor Department’s Employment Cost Index, which measures pay changes for workers that keep their jobs. Unlike some other measures of Americans’ paychecks, it isn’t directly affected by mass layoffs such as the pandemic job losses that occurred last spring.

The figures suggest that as the economy is reopening and more Americans are willing to venture out to restaurants, bars, and shops, businesses are having to provide higher pay and benefits to pull workers back into the job market. Many businesses have struggled to find people to take jobs, despite still-high unemployment.

Some Americans are reluctant to take jobs in industries like restaurants, hotels and bars for fear of contracting the coronavirus. Others, particularly women, are constrained by child care obligations. And a generous federal supplement to unemployment benefits of $300 a week may also be keeping some unemployed on the sidelines. That benefit ends Sept. 6.

Overall incomes grew by a record amount in March, according to a separate report Friday, bolstered by $1,400 government stimulus checks and unemployment aid to roughly 18 million Americans. Incomes soared 21.1%, while spending rose 4.2%, a sign that much of the income was saved and may be spent in coming months.

Wages and salaries rose 1% in the first three months of the year, the Employment Cost Index showed, while benefits such as health insurance increased 0.6% in value.

Hotels and restaurants boosted pay and benefits by 1.5% in the first quarter, as many businesses in those industries have had a hard time finding workers. Total compensation jumped 3.6% in the financial services industry.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

United States News

Columbus Blue Jackets' Johnny Gaudreau, right, looks for an open pass against the Pittsburgh Pengui...
Associated Press

Gaudreau to Columbus tops busy summer of NHL player movement

Johnny Hockey moved East, though not as far as everyone thought. The champs out West couldn’t keep the entire band together. And two teams with lengthy playoff droughts made some moves hoping to change that. Johnny Gaudreau joining Columbus headlined a busy offseason of player movement around the NHL. Darcy Kuemper left Colorado for Washington […]
3 hours ago
FILE - The Twitter page of Elon Musk is seen on the screen of a computer in Sausalito, Calif., on M...
Associated Press

What if Musk loses the Twitter case but defies the court?

Twitter wants a Delaware court to order Elon Musk to buy the social media service for $44 billion, as he promised back in April. But what if a judge makes that ruling and Musk balks? The Tesla billionaire’s reputation for dismissing government pronouncements has some worried that he might flout an unfavorable ruling of the […]
3 hours ago
The Pittsburgh Steelers face the New England Patriots during an NFL football game at Acrisure Stadi...
Associated Press

Spectator at Steelers game dies after fall from escalator

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A spectator at Sunday’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets died following a fall on an escalator at Acrisure Stadium. The Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety said police and emergency service personnel were alerted after a male spectator fell around 4:45 p.m., shortly after the end of New York’s […]
1 day ago
A person stands near an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities fir...
Associated Press

World shares mostly lower as recession fears deepen

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares dropped in Europe and Asia on Monday while oil prices surged more than $3 a barrel amid dire warnings over energy shortages in Europe if Russia cuts off gas supplies. Germany’s DAX fell 1% to 11,998.26 while the CAC 40 in Paris shed 1.2% to 5,690.88. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.8% […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

It’s flu vaccine time and seniors need revved-up shots

Doctors have a message for vaccine-weary Americans: Don’t skip your flu shot this fall — and seniors, ask for a special extra-strength kind. After flu hit historically low levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be poised for a comeback. The main clue: A nasty flu season just ended in Australia. While there’s no way […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

It’s flu vaccine time and seniors need revved-up shots

Doctors have a message for vaccine-weary Americans: Don’t skip your flu shot this fall — and seniors, ask for a special extra-strength kind. After flu hit historically low levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be poised for a comeback. The main clue: A nasty flu season just ended in Australia. While there’s no way […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
US wages and benefits jump as economy reopens