WASHINGTON — U.S. private-sector workers received the biggest pay raise in 11 years in the first three months of 2018, a sign that the tight job market is slowly lifting wages.

The Labor Department said Friday that its employment cost index shows wages and salaries in the private sector rose 1 percent between January and March compared with the previous quarter. That’s the biggest gain since the first quarter of 2007, before the Great Recession.

The gain was boosted partly by healthy year-end commissions that are typically paid to sales workers at the beginning of the year. The increase may also reflect other one-time factors, such as bonuses paid out after the Trump administration’s tax cuts took effect.

In 2017, private-sector wages rose 2.9 percent, the healthiest increase since the third quarter of 2008.

The unemployment rate is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent and employers are hiring vigorously. Many businesses are struggling to find workers and they’re offering higher pay as a result.

Still, wages for private sector workers rose at about a 3.5 percent pace in 2007, before the recession hit.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.