Wages of employees in New Hampshire can’t keep pace with inflation
Latest report shows 1.5% increase in January as prices rose an average 6% in the Northeast
It might be good news to inflation fighters when employees’ wages are showing signs of stagnation, but it isn’t so great for the workers.
Wage increases are a key driver of inflation, which still continues to go up, though not at as brisk a pace as before. In the Northeast, the rate was 6 percent in January.
Employees’ average hourly wages in New Hampshire hardly went anywhere in January – a 1.5 percent increase compared to January 2022, according to Tuesday’s release by the U.S. Department of Labor latest employment statistics. That’s less than a third of a percent monthly increase – 10 cents –from December.
Those wage increases, though, vary by category. Wages for professional and business services (primarily office workers and managers) rose by 12.2 percent, but wages for healthcare workers and teachers, which had been going up by a lot, actually fell by a tenth of percent. And retail workers’ average hourly wage only rose by that tenth of a percent.
Restaurant and hotel workers have gone up 3.7 percent since last year, but actually fell 2.7 percent since month, though monthly variations should be taken with a grain of pollen, since they aren’t seasonally adjusted. Manufacturing workers’ wages went up 2.2 percent.
It’s not as if the shortage of workers has ended, though it may have loosened up a tiny bit. The state added 23,000 jobs since last year, according to the same DOL report released yesterday. That’s a 3.45 percent increase in non-farm employment and 4 percent for all jobs. Restaurant and hotel jobs rose by 9 percent.
Meanwhile, the state unemployment rate released last week remains low, a seasonally adjusted 2.8 percent in January, down from 2.9 in December, though up from the 2.3 percent of experienced a year ago.
Weekly unemployment claims however continue to creep upward. They hovered at about 3,000 in mid-February, were about 2,000 at the beginning of December, and were as low as 1,644 at the end of May 2022.