FILE- In this Nov. 9, 2018, file photo Walmart associate Luis Gutierrez, center, checks out a customer at a Walmart Supercenter in Houston. On Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, the Labor Department releases the employment cost index for the fourth quarter, a measure of wage and benefit growth. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

US wages and benefits up 0.7 percent in Q4

January 31, 2019 - 3:07 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. workers saw their annual wages and benefits rise by 0.7 percent in the final three months of last year, a moderate gain that was down only slightly from the third quarter.

The Labor Department says that the seasonally adjusted October-December gain was down from a 0.8 percent rise in the third quarter.

Over the past 12 months, wages and benefits are up 2.9 percent, an improvement from a 12-month gain of 2.8 percent in the 12 months ending in September.

Wages and salaries, which make up 70 percent of employment costs, were up 3.1 percent for the 12 months ending in December while benefits such as health insurance and pension contributions rose by 2.8 percent.

Analysts said the moderate gains were not threatening to trigger unwanted inflation pressures.

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