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Wages rose 2 percent over the past year

One important data point from today's release — "wages rose 2 percent over the past year."

This is a bit of an ambiguous indicator. The number is high enough that people who've been itching for interest rate hikes can certainly point to it as a sign that economic slack is gone and it's time to shift to tighter money. On the other hand, 2 percent year-on-year growth is hardly mind-blowing prosperity. It's not even a hint of catchup from the years-long span of massive slack and no wage growth. Giving workers a chance at seeing some real gains requires the Fed to not have an itchy trigger finger on those rate hikes.

Understanding is critical

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