Unemployment continues to fall, which should drive up wages

WHILE THE ECONOMY MAINTAINS A SLOW-BUT-STEADY PACE OF GROWTH, THE LABOR MARKET HAS CONTINUED TO TIGHTEN.

This reflects two key trends:

  • Low productivity growth, which implies most GDP growth has to come from employing more workers, and
  • Low labor force growth, which means that much of the job growth has come from re-employing the unemployed rather than new workers entering the labor market.

Solid GDP growth in 2017 and 2018 should cut the unemployment rate further, perhaps to 3.5% by the end of 2018, having already fallen close to 4% by the end of 2017. While wages have been slow to react to a tight labor market so far, extra pressure to find workers spurred by tax cuts could finally boost wage growth in 2018.

Source: BLS, FactSet, JP Morgan Asset Management