Business Report: Why wages aren't increasing

Business Report: Why wages aren't increasing

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's been 10 years since the stock market crash. The economy has been growing; the stock market has been climbing. Unemployment has fallen to a several-decades low. Businesses are having trouble filling openings. These conditions are supposed to unleash robust wage increases. But in most industries it isn't happening. Why?

That's what a reporter asked Fed head Jerome Powell yesterday. And he said, "It's a puzzle."

Really? That's the best you can do?

No one's asking you to predict the future, only explain the present. And it's important: 70% of economic activity is consumer spending. If we don't have enough income to spend, businesses suffer. Possible explanations: big companies have forgotten how to grow organically, growing instead through mergers and acquisitions, and economies of scale; for 50 years we've exported manufacturing jobs, which show no sign of ever returning even under new trade protectionism; and unions, a force for rising wages, have waned on the mainland.

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