Wages appear to be stabilizing, NABE survey says


Wages in the US appear to be stabilizing, according to the July 2023 National Association for Business Economics’ Business Conditions Survey report, released today. More than half of respondents to the survey, 53%, reported wages were unchanged in the second quarter — the first time a majority of respondents said wages were unchanged since 2021.

However, while more than half saw wages remain unchanged, 47% reported rising wages and zero percent reported falling wages.

The report’s net rising index for wages — the percent reporting rising wages minus the percent reporting falling wages — was 47. That compares to a level of 63 in the previous two quarterly Business Conditions Surveys.

“Results of the July 2023 NABE Business Conditions Survey reflect an economy of rising sales and profits as materials costs decline and stabilizing wages prove less challenging,” NABE President Julia Coronado said in a press release. Coronado is also founder and president of MacroPolicy Perspectives LLC.

Looking ahead, no respondent expected wages to fall over the next three months, and 56% expected wages to remain unchanged. Still, 44% expected wage costs to rise. The net rising index — those expecting wages to rise minus those expecting wages to fall — was 44%, up slightly from 43% in the first-quarter survey.

NABE’s survey includes 50 economists who work for private-sector firms or industry trade association.

Other findings in the report:

  • Nearly a quarter of respondents, 24%, expect employment at their firms to rise over the next three months, with 67% expecting employment to be unchanged. Ten percent reported employment would fall. That results in a net rising index of 14%, which is up from a negative net rising index of 4% in the first quarter and a negative 7% in the fourth quarter.
  • Regarding a recession, panelists’ views were more optimistic than in the previous survey, with 71% putting the probability of a recession at 50% or less over the next 12 months.