2017 Economic Calendar
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Employment Cost Index  
Released On 4/28/2017 8:30:00 AM For Q1:17
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
ECI - Q/Q change0.5 %0.6 %0.5 % to 0.8 %0.8 %
ECI - Y/Y change2.2 %2.4 %

It was way back in the fourth-quarter of 2007 that the employment cost index last jumped 0.8 percent, as it did in the first quarter. The surge is split nearly evenly between wages & salaries, also up 0.8 percent on the quarter, and benefits, up 0.7 percent. Year-on-year, the ECI was up 2.4 percent for a 2 tenths gain from the fourth quarter in what is the second strongest showing of the 8-year expansion.

Pressure in this report comes at a time when the unemployment rate is very low, at 4.5 percent, and reports are building, including from the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, that labor is in short supply especially skilled labor. This pressure has yet to appear in average hourly earnings or consumer prices but this may only be a question of time. If wage inflation does begin to pick up, we can look back at this report as the first indication.

Consensus Outlook
Benefit costs have been slowing as has the employment cost index which posted a moderate 0.5 percent quarterly gain and a year-on-year increase of only 2.2 percent, fourth-quarter results consistent with lack of wage traction in the labor market. Forecasters are calling for slightly more strength in the first quarter with the Econoday consensus at 0.6 percent.

A measure of total employee compensation costs, including wages and salaries as well as benefits. The employment cost index (ECI) is the broadest measure of labor costs.  Why Investors Care
The employment cost index measured total compensation costs which include wages and salaries and also benefits. Benefits include vacations, but the primary mover is health insurance premiums.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

2017 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/314/287/2810/31
Release For: Q4:16Q1:17Q2:17Q3:17

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