Rising employment in the past few years has signaled the return of a stronger economy, but until recently, one other factor has lagged behind. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed recently that employee compensation grew between April and June. Over the three-month period, the employment-cost index rose 0.9 percent.
Economists expected the index to grow just 0.5 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Journal said that rising compensation may be a sign of a healthier job market causing employers to try to retain workers with higher wages. Although the nation's unemployment rate remained high, jobs have been created at a faster pace recently, which may explain the higher demand for workers.
More growth was seen in benefits than in actual wages. While pay rose 0.6 percent in the quarter, benefits expanded 1.0 percent. Still, the growth of salaries and wages was the largest since 2008's third quarter. However, when viewed annually, pay has not yet caught up with its prerecession growth rate. Before 2008, compensation generally rose 3 to 4 percent each year, compared to the current rate of 2 percent each year.