When assessing the general health of the economy, a key aspect to the equation involves a consideration of the wages that workers take home. Wages provide the most common means of earning a living for people in the United States. Rising wages typically signify a strengthening labor market, where employment opportunities are expanding and employers must raise pay to attract and retain qualified employees. Higher take home pay in turn contributes to increased consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the national economy.
Nationally, average weekly wages grew by 2.3 percent in October 2017, continuing an extended trend that has pushed the trailing 12-month growth rate up to 2.5 percent, the highest level since 2012. This trend has come amid a positive economic environment where the unemployment rate is at its lowest point since the turn of the century, the rate of job openings is at its highest point since at least 2000, and voluntary worker quits have reached their highest point in a decade. Together, these metrics signify a national economy with too few workers to fill a growing number of job opportunities. Thus, employers competing for a limited pool of workers are raising worker compensation.
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