Boots & Sabers

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0906, 07 Sep 18

Wages Rise in Robust Economy

Fantastic! Wages are always a lagging metric. It’s good to see them rise.

Annual wage growth hit a nine-year high in the US last month as the economy created more jobs than expected.

Average hourly earnings rose by 0.4% in August, pushing the annual rate of increase to 2.9% – the fastest pace since June 2009.

Hiring in the construction sector and in professional services helped the economy to add 201,000 jobs last month.

The strong wage growth is likely to strengthen expectations of another rise in US interest rates later this month.

The US Federal Reserve, which has already raised rates twice this year, is due to meet on 25-26 September.

The dollar rose in response to the data. The dollar index – which measures the greenback against a group of major currencies – hit a two-day high.


0906, 07 September 2018


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    Trump just keeps on winning!

  2. Merlin

    The economy is so good even Colin Kaepernick has found a job.

  3. Kevin Scheunemann


    Inflation is always the enemy of wage growth.   Many choose to do safe thing, sit back and have a job, but fail to invest, save, and diversify.

    Who’s fault would that be?

    I have some investments well positioned for some inflation.   I look forwad to some inflation.

    Why are you not looing forward to a little inflation?

  4. Le Roi du Nord

    Yup, I’m looking forward to 14% home loans again and ARMs adjusted every 6 months.

  5. 9606

    Le roi
    The wsj ran an article last week doing a really good job debunking marketwatch

  6. Kevin Scheunemann


    I said a little inflation, not the crazy liberal inflation of Carter years or socialist Venezuela.

    Everyone has a chance to adopt gold strategies, or real estate investment hedges against inflation. It’a a question of risk.

    Those that take little risk to save and invest can be victim to inflation. One can choose to party, have a good time on the weekend, or one can save, invest, and plan for the next week. Why should those who do the latter try and force those who do the former to be more responsible with their earnings?

    There are consequences to how one handles their income/savings/investments.

  7. Owen

    “Yup, I’m looking forward to 14% home loans again and ARMs adjusted every 6 months.”

    I guess it depends on your economic situation. I have a fixed mortgage and no other debt. I would like to see investments besides equities have greater returns so that I can diversify better. Somewhat higher interest rates, as long as they don’t strangle the money supply for capital growth, are fine with me.

    But here’s the thing… economies are always about balance. A shift in anything will have some positive consequences and some negative consequences. The key is to evaluate whether the good outweighs the bad. In this case, wage growth is more important and positive to everyday Americans than a little inflation. If inflation gets out of control, then we’ll have a different problem.

    In the end, Nord, you shitting over every bit of positive economic news just makes you look like an old curmudgeon. You’ll never be happy. That;s your choice. In the meantime, I’m going to celebrate the fact that more Americans are seeing bigger paychecks in this economy. That’s a good thing.

  8. Le Roi du Nord


    Sorry to burst your ideological  bubble, but those numbers were from Raygun’s second term.

    And don’t get me wrong, I’m glad wages are creeping up, but crowing about that while those increases are eaten up (and then some) by inflation is just disingenuous.  Not everyone has the opportunity to make the investment choices you and I do for a variety of reasons.  No longer does a “rising tide lift all ships” apply.

  9. dad29

    Anyone familiar with US economic history knows that Reagan’s man Volcker deliberately hiked prime rate in 1980 to kill inflation.  He was successful, and the prime rate (21+%) sank back to ~11-ish for the balance of his first term, then back up to 14 in early ’84, then it tailed off into the 8-9% range until Reagan was gone.

    That inflation, of course, came from your peanut farmer wackball, J. E. Carter


  10. dad29

    old curmudgeon

    Owen, putting Nordski in that group is an insult to curmudgeons.  When he walks into a room, the average IQ therein sinks by about 30 points.

  11. Pat

    The upward movement on wages is great! The low unemployment is great for wages. Kicking out all the undesirables will lower the unemployment even more. A greater demand for workers should drive wages for lower and middle class workers higher. Higher wages means greater spending by the lower and middle class. All resulting higher demand for goods.

  12. Mark Hoefert

    Always a good tell about the quality of an article when it has a “qualifier” in it.

    The difference lies in which measures of both pay and inflation are used. Powell was citing average hourly earnings, and not median weekly earnings. He was also referring to inflation as measured by the PCE price index, and not the consumer price index, which the BLS uses to compute real average wages.

    Problem with the CPI is that gas and food are included.  Consumers can adapt to volatile gas prices (drive less, drive more fuel efficient car, wait for price to drop back down) and food prices (look for bargains, eat cheaper things, dig for coupons, use up stuff in the freezer).  So, the consumer adapts by finding cheaper alternatives, the market then adapts by dropping the prices when demand drops.


  13. MHMaley

    Those of us who stood in gas lines don’t remember Carter as the
    President with a “win” button ( whip inflation now ) . Energy prices ,
    Not any particular politician were the drivers of inflation .

  14. dad29

    You’re right:  Carter drove up the price of woolen sweaters, though.

    And we should also give Obama his due:  the Fed had to keep rates at all-time-record lows to offset Obama’s horrific economic policies.  The Fed didn’t really win that battle.  But there was not much inflation.  Not much consumer spending, not much employment, not much national pride, not much business capex spending……

  15. jjf

    I think you skipped the Bush part that Obama inherited.

    “Not much national pride.”  That’s part of the GDP now?

  16. Pat

    For those who think the Carter years sucked should checkout the economy he inherited and the causes that resulted from the decisions of Nixonics.

  17. Le Roi du Nord


    “Anyone familiar with US economic history knows that Reagan’s man Volcker deliberately hiked prime rate in 1980 to kill inflation…”

    Actually anyone familiar with US economic history would recall that Volcker was nominated by Carter (7-25-79) not Reagan, and that Reagan wasn’t president until January of ’81.

    So dad, what other wisdom do you want to share with us?? More alternative facts??  Or do you adhere to the ‘truth isn’t the truth” school of thought?

  18. Mark Hoefert

    “…….Last, we learned that we need strong leaders. Paul Volcker was vilified for years because of the steps he had to take to break the back of inflation. “Wanted” posters targeted him for “killing” so many small businesses. Yet he remained resolute, doing what he knew was best for the country in the long term. We are also fortunate that President Ronald Reagan supported Volcker and the cause of price stability.


  19. Mark Hoefert

    In Krugman’s telling, all the credit belongs to Paul Volcker, then chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. In my telling, both Volcker and Reagan counted. Volcker imposed tight money; Reagan’s support enabled him to maintain the painful and unpopular policy (the monthly unemployment rate peaked at 10.8 percent) long enough to purge inflationary psychology.


    Volcker was not Carter’s first choice. To improve his approval ratings before the 1980 election, Carter had dismissed five Cabinet members, including Treasury Secretary W. Michael Blumenthal. Carter couldn’t find a leading business figure to replace Blumenthal and so turned to G. William Miller, an ex-CEO who was chairman of the Fed. When Miller accepted, Carter needed to find another Fed chairman. Private-sector figures again turned him down. Carter didn’t have the luxury of waiting, because financial markets were in a tizzy. Volcker, head of the New York Federal Reserve bank, was an obvious default choice, though some Carter officials disliked his tough views on inflation.

  20. dad29

    Nordski, the Peanut Farmer was a massive failure, just like the recent Commie-in-Chief who is now trying to keep himself out of Leavenworth for his nefarious activities.

    But at least Carter was not a criminal, nor a Communist.

  21. jjf

    Looking forward to future B&S analysis of the consequences of “Federal deficit soars 32 percent to $895 billion”


  22. Le Roi du Nord


    You are entitled to your opinion re: Carter.  But the alternative facts you try to foist off on us is your downfall.

  23. dad29

    ‘roids:  you live in an alternative reality, my man.  My ‘alternative facts’ ARE reality.  See the difference?


    I didn’t think so.

  24. Le Roi du Nord


    If you believe Volcker was “Reagan’s man”, then facts and history mean nothing to you.  That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone considering your fawning support and defense of the current occupant.  Carry on.

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