More Small Businesses Say Worker Wages Are Heading Higher

Small companies in the U.S. see wage growth accelerating in coming months after 23 percent said in July that they recently boosted worker compensation.

A net 15 percent of managers last month said they plan to increase pay, up 4 percentage points from June, according to the seasonally adjusted results of 1,495 responses in a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business.

In June, pay expectations fell to the lowest since January 2014 and a net 21 percent said they recently boosted worker compensation.

The group’s index of small-business optimism rose to 95.4 from 94.1 in June, when it dropped the most since November 2012. The measure is still below the four-decade average of 98.

The survey by the NFIB, a lobbying group that says it has 350,000 small and independent business owners as members, was a leading indicator of national wage growth until 2012, when the correlation broke down. Since the start of 2013, the percentage of smaller companies preparing to increase pay has been as low as 6 percent and as high as 17 percent.

Average hourly earnings reported by the Labor Department advanced 2.1 percent in July from a year earlier, compared with 2 percent in the 12 months ended in June.

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