Humming In The Heartland

One sign that U.S. wage pressures are far from quiescent is to be found in the Midwest, where the economy has benefited from surging auto and auto-related production and a rebound in export manufactures. The boom, says economist Mark M. Zandi of Regional Financial Associates Inc., has pushed the unemployment rate in the nation's heartland below 5%--its lowest since the 1960s. And wages and salaries in the third quarter were running 3.7% more than a year ago, compared with an average increase of 2.9% for the nation as a whole.

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