US firms face hir­ing dif­fi­cul­ties: Sur­vey

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

A grow­ing share of US em­ploy­ers are strug­gling to hire new work­ers and some have raised wages as a re­sult, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey re­leased yes­ter­day.

The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Busi­ness Economists said its quar­terly sur­vey showed mem­bers were a lit­tle less san­guine about the prospects for strong eco­nomic ex­pan­sion over the next year, al­though most still ex­pect sus­tained quar­terly growth of bet­ter than two per­cent. With un­em­ploy­ment al­ready very low, anec­do­tal re­ports in­di­cate em­ploy­ers around the coun­try are strug­gling to fill open po­si­tions and have been obliged to boost com­pen­sa­tion to lure in new can­di­dates.

But of­fi­cial fig­ures show only slug­gish wage growth and weak in­fla­tion­with av­er­age hourly earn­ings dis­ap­point­ingly up less than 0.2 per­cent in June some­thing that has puz­zled pol­i­cy­mak­ers at the Fed­eral Re­serve, al­though it has not yet prompted them to al­ter their course of grad­ual in­ter­est rate in­creases.

“Slightly over one third of pan­elists re­ports that their firms have ex­pe­ri­enced some dif­fi­culty in hir­ing,” NABE sur­vey chair Emily Kolin­ski said in a state­ment. The sur­vey of 101 NABE mem­bers showed ris­ing sales, prof­its, hir­ing and cap­i­tal spend­ing.

How­ever, “Pric­ing power-or lack of it-and la­bor costs are gen­er­at­ing some head­winds for a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of firms,” she said. The share of firms re­port­ing in­creased wages rose eight points from April to 47 per­cent. But ex­pec­ta­tions that wages will keep ris­ing over the next three months rose only three points, also to 47 per­cent.

Half of firms re­ported gains in sales, up from 45 per­cent in April. About 60 per­cent of re­spon­dents said they ex­pected GDP to ex­pand by more than two per­cent over the next four quar­ters, but the share fore­see­ing growth un­der two per­cent rose eight points to 38 per­cent.

Kolin­ski, chief econ­o­mist at Ford Mo­tor Com­pany, said firms have not changed course on hir­ing and in­vest­ment de­ci­sions based on any hope of stim­u­lus from the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, which has vowed to slash taxes and reg­u­la­tion. And just 12 per­cent said it was likely they would re­visit long-term strate­gies in light of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­ci­sion to with­draw from the 2015 Paris Cli­mate ac­cord, while 50 per­cent said this was un­likely. — AFP

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