ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Workers in the private sector can expect to see a pickup in the overall rate of annual wage gains by early 2012, according to the revised third quarter Wage Trend Indicator™ (WTI) released today by BNA, a leading publisher of specialized news and information.
The WTI rose to 98.35 (second quarter 1976 = 100) from 98.21 in the second quarter. If confirmed by the final third quarter reading, this would mark the index's fifth consecutive gain.
"The U.S. economy is being buffeted by more negative forces, which increases the risks, but we're still seeing slow growth," economist Kathryn Kobe, a consultant who maintains and helped develop BNA's WTI database, said. "The latest WTI continues to point to wage increases inching up, as labor markets gradually improve," Kobe said.
The rate of annual pay increases for wage and salary workers is expected to improve from the 1.7 percent gain posted in the second quarter of 2011, according to the Department of Labor's latest employment cost index (ECI) but is unlikely to exceed 2.0 percent.
Reflecting recent labor market conditions, five of the WTI's seven components made positive contributions to the revised third quarter reading, while one factor was negative and one was neutral.
Over its history, the WTI has predicted a turning point in wage trends six to nine months before the trends are apparent in the ECI. A sustained decline in the WTI is predictive of a deceleration in the rate of private sector wage increases, while a sustained increase forecasts greater pressure to raise wages.
Contributions of Components
Of the WTI's seven components, the five positive contributors to the revised third quarter reading were the unemployment rate and average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers, both reported by DOL; the share of employers planning to hire production and service workers in the coming months and the proportion of employers reporting difficulty in filling professional and technical jobs, both tracked by BNA's quarterly employment outlook survey; and economic forecasters' expectations for the rate of inflation, compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The negative factor was industrial production, measured by the Federal Reserve Board. The final WTI component—job losers as a share of the labor force, from DOL—was neutral.
BNA's Wage Trend Indicator™ is designed to serve as a yardstick for employers, analysts, and policymakers to identify turning points in private sector wage patterns. It also provides timely information for business and human resource analysts and executives as they plan for year-to-year changes in compensation costs.
The WTI is released in 12 monthly reports per year showing the preliminary, revised, and final readings for each quarter, based on newly emerging economic data.
The next report of the Wage Trend Indicator™ will be released on Thursday, October 13, 2011 (final third quarter)
BNA is the largest independent publisher of specialized news, analysis, and reference services for professionals. BNA analysts produce more than 350 news and information products, including the highly respected Daily Labor Report, U.S. Law Week, and Daily Report for Executives.
Dr. Joel Popkin, who developed the WTI for BNA,is acknowledged as one of the country's foremost authorities on the measurement and analysis of wages and prices. Formerly an official with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dr. Popkin has been an analyst observing and predicting the U.S. economic outlook for 40 years. Kathryn Kobe, who worked with Popkin in designing the indicator for BNA, is director of price, wage, and productivity analysis at Economic Consulting Services LLC.
To obtain Wage Trend Indicator™ reports by e-mail on a regular basis, contact Jerry Walsh, BNA PLUS, 800-372-1033.