Counterintuitively, elevated wage growth could be a problem for sustaining a strong labor market if it generates concerns about (or actual) higher inflation and leads the Federal Reserve to keep monetary policy tighter than it otherwise would have. Labor productivity growth, however, would alleviate this concern. Figure 4 shows the three measures of wage growth considered above alongside a measure of sustainable wage growth that is equal to productivity growth plus the Federal Reserve’s two percent inflation target. From 2001 through 2019, actual wage growth tracked this measure well, and inflation was low and stable. Since the onset of the pandemic, labor productivity has fluctuated widely (partially reflecting shifts in the composition of employment as acutely exposed sectors reacted and adapted to the pandemic), and beginning in early 2022, actual wage growth substantially exceeded the sustainable benchmark. Over the course of 2023, however, productivity has rebounded while wage growth has moderated, bringing actual wage growth closer to a level that would be sustainable.
- Date Posted:
- January 19, 2024
Continuation of a messy status quo seems the most plausible answer. The world economy would remain relatively open by historical standards with trade growing more or less in line with world output. Some decoupling of direct links between the US and China would occur. But the attempted shift by the US (and others) towards other suppliers would leave indirect dependence on inputs imported from China. A large number of countries would continue to maintain trade with the US and its close allies, on the one hand, and China, on the other.