Small Businesses in U.S. Plan to Lift Wages, NFIB Says (1))

More U.S. small companies in November said they plan to raise wages in coming months after a net 21 percent said they recently boosted compensation.

A net 15 percent of managers last month said they will increase wages, according to the seasonally adjusted results of 615 respondents in a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. That’s up two points from October and matches readings earlier this year that were the highest since early 2008.

“The reported gains in compensation are still in the range typical of an economy with reasonable growth,” William Dunkelberg, the NFIB’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Labor market conditions are suggestive of a tightening, which will put further upward pressure on compensation.”

The group’s total index climbed to 98.1 in November, the highest since February 2007, from 96.1 the prior month. The increase was led by a 16-point surge in the economic outlook for the next six months, which took that reading to its strongest point since November 2010.

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 pay their workers more increased from as low as 6 percent. Average hourly wages reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics rose 2.1 percent in November from the previous year, up from an annual 2 percent gain in October.

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