CORONAVIRUS

US Wages And Benefits Jump As Economy Reopens

Apr 30, 2021, 10:12 AM
FILE: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)...
FILE: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus

A woman is pushing a patient bed through a hospital hallway....
Deidre McPhillips, CNN

Hospitals in the US are the fullest they’ve been throughout the pandemic — but it’s not just COVID-19

(CNN) — Hospitals are more full than they’ve been throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a CNN analysis of data from the US Department of Health and Human Services. But as respiratory virus season surges across the US, it’s much more than Covid that’s filling beds this year. More than 80% of hospital beds are […]
17 hours ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
LOLITA C. BALDOR and KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press

Congress set to rescind COVID-19 vaccine mandate for troops

The COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the U.S. military would be rescinded under the annual defense bill heading for a vote this week in Congress.
2 days ago
Epidemic control workers wear PPE to protect against the spread of COVID-19 while guarding the gate...
Joe McDonald, Associated Press

China eases anti-COVID measures following protests

China has rolled back rules on isolating people with COVID-19 and dropped virus test requirements for some public places.
2 days ago
2022 FLU SHOT...
Brenda Goodman, CNN

2022 Flu vaccine appears to be a very good match, CDC says

(CNN) — This year’s flu shot appears to be “a very good match” to the circulating strains, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a news briefing Monday. However, she noted that flu vaccinations are lagging behind the pace of previous years. Through the end of October, CDC data showed […]
3 days ago
A healthcare worker prepares a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Sa...
LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer

Pfizer asks FDA to clear updated COVID shot for kids under 5

Pfizer is asking U.S. regulators to authorize its updated COVID-19 vaccine for children under age 5.
4 days ago
FILE: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news briefing at the Pentagon July 21,...
TARA COPP, Associated Press

Keep COVID military vaccine mandate, defense chief says

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is making clear he wants to keep the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place to protect the health of the troops.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
US Wages And Benefits Jump As Economy Reopens