For example, the number of job openings is increasing. Companies are filling those jobs with new workers. When it becomes harder to find workers, employers will have to act. This means higher pay, better benefits and better working conditions. It could mean all three.
A study of small business employers was also good news. They said they felt good about business in 2015. The study said more employers were planning to increase wages than in the study last year.
Big employers are getting in on the act. Aetna Insurance is a giant health insurer. The company is setting its minimum wage at $16 an hour. This will be an average wage increase of 11 percent for low-level workers. This will raise wages to about $33,000 a year for a person working a 40-hour week.
Next year, Aetna will also improve its health benefits. This will save workers about $4,000 a year.
Aetna wants to reduce turnover among its workers. It will use its wage and benefit increases to attract new workers.
The president of Aetna said: “It is not just about paying people, it is about the whole social compact.”
If the economy continues to grow, it will be hard to resist raising wages. Companies will not want to lose workers to better-paying firms.
Nothing can be taken for granted. For example, some people who have been out of work for a long time may want to come back into the labor force. That could hold down wages.
Still, economists are optimistic about 2015.
Source: The New York Times January 13, 2015
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