We’ll get the April jobs report Friday, and the latest job openings and labor turnover report was released Tuesday. Wednesday’s employment data came by way of the ADP National Employment Report.
For the last couple of years, many people got big pay increases when they switched jobs — especially in lower-paying fields, where it’s been hard for employers to find enough workers. But that seems to be changing. People aren’t getting quite the same bump anymore, according to the report.
After several decades of wages being stagnant, “it was really exciting to see that happening,” said Elisabeth Jacobs at the Urban Institute.
But now, the pace of that wage growth is slowing down. ADP data shows that people who changed jobs in April got a pay increase that was about 7% less than those who switched in March.
“If you’re a worker, it’s obviously not a good thing if your wages aren’t as high,” Jacobs said.
But if you’re talking about the broader economy, it is a good sign, per ADP’s Nela Richardson. “The fact that pay gains are decelerating means that demand and supply are coming into better balance,” she said.
More people are entering the labor force, employers are having an easier time finding workers and hiring is still strong. Wages are still growing — just not quite as quickly as they have been.
“This is the best report you could possibly hope for from the private sector — strong job gains, moderating wage growth,” Richardson said. “That’s good news for both [gross domestic product] growth and good news for moderating inflation.”
There’s no way to know yet whether all this softening in the labor market and slowing of wage gains will be a good thing long-term, said Kathryn Anne Edwards at Rand Corp.
“Everything that should happen as we are coming out of a recession and a recovery and moving into a normal business cycle is happening now,” she said. “But those types of slowdowns are also the things that happen at the end of a business cycle when we’re entering a recession. They look really similar.”
So it can be hard to tell. But right now, Ali Bustamante at the Roosevelt Institute said it does feel like the labor market is in a sweet spot.
“I think the biggest takeaway when we look at the moderation of and deceleration of wage growth over the past year is looking at an economy that is really stable right now,” he said.
More stable, Bustamante added, than it’s been for several years.
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