US employers may have to 'pay more' amid labor shortage: Yellen

Washington (AFP) – US employers especially in the service sector may have to raise wages as the economy adjusts to a labor shortage, but that would be a "good thing" for workers, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Wednesday.


"It's good to see wages rise and working conditions improve for people working in low wage sectors of the economy. This is something that we've wanted to accomplish for a long time," Yellen said in an interview with MSNBC.

Companies nationwide are struggling to find workers to fill open positions, especially service firms like restaurants and hotels, while big employers like Amazon and Walmart have raised wages amid a massive push to bring in more workers ahead of the holiday shopping season.

"They may have to pay more, and that will be part of the adjustment," Yellen said of service firms.

"But this is something that's good for workers. Many of the service sector workers have suffered from chronically low wages and from working conditions," she said.

US earnings have moved up only gradually in recent years, although they have begun to move upward as the economy reopens following the pandemic shutdown. But inflation also has gathered speed, undermining much of the gains.