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October 2019

October 2019 Short Bits

Short Bits

Running a business can be expensive, but costs have remained stable, despite almost full employment in the workplace. Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2.8% for the 12-month period ended March 2019, compared with a compensation cost increase of 2.7% during the previous year. Wages and salaries increased 2.9% during the latest period, up from 2.7% the year before, while benefit costs rose 2.6%. Wages comprised 70% of total costs, with benefit costs making up the rest.

While compensation costs were tame, the 2019 second quarter increase of 3.7% year over year for full-time wage and salary workers indicates business costs could be rising. This increase was more than double the coinciding inflation increase (see next Item). The median weekly earnings during this time were $908. Broken down, that was $1,000 for men and $814 for women, or 81.4% of what men earn, indicating more room for progress.

Inflation remains tame, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.6% for the year ending June 2019. Prices for all items, less food and energy, rose 2.1% during this time, while food prices increased 1.9%. The good news was that energy prices fell 3.4% over the last 12 months.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 164,000 new nonfarm jobs in July, with unemployment remaining unchanged at 3.7%. The Bureau added that job growth occurred in the professional and technical services, health care, social assistance, and financial activities sectors.


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