More Small Businesses in U.S. Plan to Raise Worker Compensation

More U.S. small companies plan to raise wages in coming months and a net 20 percent said they recently boosted compensation for their workers.

A net 14 percent of managers said in February that they will be increasing pay, according to the seasonally adjusted results of 716 responses in a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. That’s up 2 points from January, when 12 percent said they planned to boost salaries and 25 percent said they had recently increased compensation.

The group’s index of small-business optimism was little changed at 98 in February after 97.9 a month earlier.

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 the 17 percent reached in December. Average hourly earnings reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics rose 2 percent in February from a year earlier, down from a 2.2 percent gain in the 12 months ended in January.

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