Bloomberg Evening Briefing: More Wage Data to Ruin the Fed’s Day

More bad news for Fed Chair Jerome Powell. A broad gauge of US labor costs closely watched by the central bank accelerated in the first quarter. It’s another addition to a growing pile of indicators showing that inflation has no intention of leaving the party just yet. The employment cost index, which measures wages and benefits, increased 1.2%, the most in a year, after rising 0.9% at the end of 2023. Still, an influx of immigrants, women and older workers into the US labor market continues to push in the other direction, helping boost worker supply at a time when demand for labor is still healthy. And other measures of pay gains are pointing to softer growth. The Atlanta Fed’s wage growth tracker has largely cooled since peaking in 2022. And the government jobs report out Friday is forecast to show average hourly earnings stepped down in April from the year before. As Jonathan Levin says in Bloomberg Opinion, strong labor-cost data for the first quarter is, after all, good news for American workers. Only the Fed can complain.

Electric vehicle owners can blame Elon Musk for that sudden pang of range anxiety they felt today. Tesla just eliminated nearly its entire Supercharger organization—you know, the one that’s built a vast US network of public charging stations that virtually every major automaker is in the process of tapping. The decision by Musk comes in addition to the thousands of Tesla employees he fired in mid-April. Easy access to high-speed charging is widely seen as critical to EV adoption, and Tesla invested billions of dollars into developing a global network of Superchargers that became the envy of other automakers.

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