Wages rise at record 70% of US companies, survey shows

About half of respondents expect their firms to raise prices in the next three months. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Wages increased in the first quarter of the year at a record 70 per cent of United States firms, a survey of economists by the National Association for Business Economics (Nabe) showed on Monday (April 25).

Moreover, the net share of panelists reporting an increase in materials costs rose to the highest since the question was first asked in 1984. In the next three months, some 71 per cent anticipate costs to keep climbing. The survey of 84 Nabe members was conducted from April 4 to 12.

The majority of businesses are successfully passing along higher costs to consumers.

Some 45 per cent of respondents reported passing on some of those cost increases to consumers, while 15 per cent reported passing along all or nearly all of them. Looking ahead, about half of respondents expect their firms to raise prices in the next three months while nearly all the rest anticipate prices to remain unchanged.

Panelists largely anticipate sales at their firms to remain strong over the next three months, and nearly half of them saw the odds of recession in the coming year at 25 per cent or less. Some 13 per cent put the probability at more than 50 per cent.

Overall, panelists said shortages are improving, with nearly a third of respondents indicating their firms are having no shortages. About half of the firms are still reporting shortages of skilled labour, but the share of firms reporting skilled and unskilled labor shortages declined from the January survey.

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