2018 Economic Calendar
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Employment Cost Index  
Released On 1/31/2018 8:30:00 AM For Q4:17
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
ECI - Q/Q change0.7 %0.6 %0.4 % to 0.9 %0.6 %
ECI - Y/Y change2.5 %2.6 %

Wage costs and benefit costs eased off in the fourth quarter but the trend remains significantly firm. The employment index rose an as-expected 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter which is down 1 tenth from the third quarter -- yet the year-on-year rate continues to move higher, up 1 tenth to 2.6 percent. This rate was last matched in first-quarter 2015 and is otherwise the highest of the post-2008 expansion.

The breakdown between the wages & salaries component and the benefits component show similar pressure. This report won't raise any red flags at today's FOMC meeting but it will certainly be cited as a further indication of tightness in the labor market, conditions that could be pointing to a future inflationary flashpoint for wages.

Consensus Outlook
Another quarter of emerging wage pressures is the expectation for the fourth-quarter employment cost index where forecasters are calling for a 0.6 percent rise. The ECI jumped 0.7 percent in the third quarter for a year-on-year 2.5 percent, both near the highest rates of the expansion. Pressures in the third-quarter report were evenly split between wages and benefits.

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

2018 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/314/277/3110/31
Release For: Q4:17Q1:18Q2:18Q3:18

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