Wages seen growing at small businesses in US, NFIB reports

[NEW YORK] Small companies in the US see wages continuing to grow in coming months after a net 25 per cent said they recently boosted worker compensation.

A net 14 per cent of managers said in May that they will increase pay, unchanged from the previous month, according to the seasonally adjusted results of 616 responses in a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. In April, a net 24 per cent said they recently boosted compensation for their workers.

"The reported gains in compensation are still in the range typical of an economy with reasonable growth, and labor market conditions are tightening, which will put further upward pressure on compensation along with government regulations including the healthcare law and minimum wage hikes," William Dunkelberg, NFIB's chief economist, said in a statement.

The group's index of small-business optimism advanced to 98.3 last month, the second-highest reading of the current economic expansion that began in June 2009, from 96.9 in the previous period. It was at 100.4 in December, the strongest since October 2006.

The survey by the NFIB, a lobbying group that says it has 350,000 small and independent business owners as members, was a leading indicator of national wage growth until 2012, when the correlation broke down. Since the start of 2013, the per centage of smaller companies preparing to increase pay has been as low as 6 per cent and as high as 17 per cent.

Average hourly earnings reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics advanced 2.3 per cent in May from a year earlier, compared with 2.2 per cent in the 12 months ended in April.


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