Wage data should make the Fed cautious
Data from Atlanta Fed is consistent with explanations for weak wage growth
Conjectures about the unexpectedly (for the US Federal Reserve) slow rate of wage gains have centered on a number of demographic changes, such as 1) the availability of a large pool of workers willing to trade off lower pay for flexible hours, and 2) increasing risk aversion among the workforce due to aging, post-crisis psychology or other factors.
The Atlanta Fed wage data are at least consistent with these conjectures.
As the above chart shows, wage gains for female workers have been far more modest than the average. At just 2.7% year-on-year, they barely equal the headline CPI rate of increase. Female workers are more likely to trade off flexible hours for lower pay.
There is a substantial and growing discrepancy between pay increases for job switchers and job stayers. It’s noteworthy that the YOY rate of pay increases has fallen to just 2.4%. That doesn’t prove the risk-aversion thesis, to be sure, but it is consistent with risk aversion.