Alison M. Berry, Carmen M. Derose



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Rising wage costs have often been used as a leading indication of inflation in national economies. In the US since the 2008 recession wage costs growth has, to say the least, been erratic with no discernible upward trend. In 2015, however, wage cost growth showed some signs of picking up steam suggesting that overall spending in the economy will likely pick up. In this study we examine trends in the employee cost index (ECI) from 2001 to 2015, the long term trend period, and 2009 to 2015, an intermediate term period after the 2008 recession. Linear trend equations are developed year over year by quarter, sequentially across quarters, and yearly (based in four quarter averages). The following findings will be discussed: (1) long term growth rates in wage costs on a quarter by quarter basis are declining. (2) Since the 2008 recession the growth trend is positive. (3) Over the last three years, on a sequential quarterly basis, the ECI growth rate has picked up significantly.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Trevor C Collier

Primary Advisor's Department

Economics and Finance


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Wage Costs and Inflation Trends: An Empirical Analysis 2001-2015