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Pay gains during Trump's first year in office best since the Great Recession

  • The Employment Cost Index, a measure of salary and benefit costs, registered a 2.6 percent gain for the full year, tied for the best since 2007.
  • That gives President Donald Trump the best wage gains since the Great Recession, easily topping any during former President Barack Obama's entire term.

Workers looking for fatter paychecks had their best year in 2017 since before the financial crisis, according to a government report Wednesday.

The Employment Cost Index, a measure of salary and benefit costs, registered a 2.6 percent gain for the full year, tied for the best since 2007, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

President Donald Trump's first full year in office saw gains that easily outdistanced any year for his predecessor, Barack Obama, whose best showing was the 2.2 percent increases in 2016 and 2014. Six of Obama's eight years in office saw gains of 2 percent or less.

The ECI numbers match other indicators that show wage inflation is heading higher.

The Atlanta Fed's Wage Growth Tracker index showed the year ended with a gain of 2.9 percent — off the eight-year peak of 3.9 percent in November 2016 right after the presidential election, but still well above the 1.6 percent crater in January 2010.

"After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages," Trump said in his State of the Union address Tuesday evening.

Earlier this week, Jim Paulsen, the chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group, said inflation-adjusted GDP has now passed the unemployment rate, a key indicator that shows wage inflation should kick in soon, perhaps reaching 4 percent in 2018.