US paychecks rise at modest 0.6 percent pace in 3rd quarter

WASHINGTON: US workers' paychecks grew at a moderate rate over the summer, showing little sign of accelerating from the sluggish growth that has persisted since the recession ended.

The Labor Department says the employment cost index, which tracks wages, salaries and benefits, climbed 0.6 percent in the July-September quarter from the April-June quarter. That is stronger than the second quarter's 0.2 percent gain.

Yet in the past 12 months, pay and benefits have risen just 2 percent. That's below the 3.5 percent to 4 percent typical of a healthy economy.

The modest annual gain is a sign that companies are still able to find the workers they need without offering much higher pay. That suggests the job market is not yet back to full health.