Associated Press (AP): US businesses cast wider net as jobless rate hits 3.9 pct.

By Christopher Rugaber
Associated Press (AP), Aug 3, 2018

With the U.S. unemployment rate near a five-decade low, companies are looking harder for employees, and in some cases finding them right at their own workplaces. ...

Average hourly pay gains remained modest in July, increasing 2.7 percent from a year earlier, the same as the previous two months. That has puzzled Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and many economists. Typically, when unemployment has fallen below 4 percent in the past, wages have increased at a faster pace. With rising gas prices pushing up inflation, Americans actually saw their inflation-adjusted pay decrease in the past year. Consumer prices rose 2.9 percent in June from a year earlier, more than the average wage gain. ...

Some companies are offering higher pay to find and keep workers, particularly for specific skills.

Brian England, the owner of BA Auto, a car repair shop in Columbia, Maryland, would like to add another technician and an apprentice to his 18-member staff. Yet auto repair work requires more technical skills than the past because of the increasing concentration of computers and electronics in newer cars.

He has raised starting pay roughly 10 percent in the past two years, from $60,000 to between $65,000 and $70,000.

“The more you make an employee healthy and happy, the more that they’re going to stay with you,” England said.

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Copyright 2018 Associated Press


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