Business Briefs

The Associated Press

US wages and benefits grew 0.7 percent in third quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. workers’ wages and benefits grew faster in the third quarter, adding to recent signs that American workers are seeing their pay climb.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that total compensation was up 0.7 percent from July through September after growing 0.5 percent in the second quarter.

Wages and salaries, which account for about 70 percent of compensation costs, rose 0.7 percent. Benefits, including pensions and health insurance, were up 0.8 percent.

Pay had been slow to recover from the Great Recession of 2007-2009 even as employers resumed hiring and unemployment fell.

But with the unemployment rate at a 16-year-low of 4.2 percent, employers may be feeling pressure to raise pay to keep and attract workers.

But wage growth perked up in September, according to an earlier Labor Department report, rising 2.9 percent from a year earlier.Some of the pay pickup was caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which sidelined low-wage workers in Texas and Florida, making higher-paid workers a disproportionate share of the labor force.

US consumer confidence rises in October to 17-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) — American consumers are the most confident they’ve been in nearly 17 years.

The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index hit 125.9 in October, up from a revised 120.6 in September and the highest reading since December 2000.

The index measures consumers’ assessment of current conditions and their outlook for the next six months. Both rose in October.

A healthy job market contributed to the sunny mood. Unemployment is at a 16-year low 4.2 percent.

Economists monitor confidence because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic output.

The economy grew at a healthy 3 percent annual pace from July through September.

The October confidence readings “suggest the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace for the remainder of the year,” Conference Board economist Lynn Franco says.

Top aides to push for tax plan while Trump is in Asia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top White House aides, including Ivanka Trump, will be lobbying in the U.S. for a tax overhaul while President Donald Trump is traveling in Asia.

A White House official says Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn and White House adviser Ivanka Trump will hold tax events around the country.

The first daughter is going to Japan for a speech Friday, but has canceled plans to continue on to China and South Korea and will return to the U.S. over the weekend.

President Donald Trump leaves Friday for a lengthy trip through Asia.

House Republicans are set to unveil their tax bill Wednesday.

Trump is scheduled to hold a tax meeting at the White House Tuesday.