White House Says Businesses Having to Hike Wages Is ‘Good Thing’

The U.S. economic reopening has caused some “bumps” as companies scramble to fill open positions, but it’s a good thing if they are forced to raise wages, a senior White House aide said.

“When we are hearing stories of businesses having to raise wages in order to attract workers back, that’s a good thing -- that is a positive development, especially for lower income folks in this country,” Bharat Ramamurti, deputy director of the National Economic Council, said on Bloomberg TV Wednesday. “We’ve seen far too many years of stagnant wages.”

Some economists, along with former officials, have warned about inflationary pressures stemming from outsize government spending and President Joe Biden’s proposals for $4 trillion in further measures. The administration, and Federal Reserve officials, have consistently argued that the U.S. central bank has the tools to avert any persistent, damaging rise in consumer prices.

“There’s going to be some bumps as we move towards reopening certain parts of the economy, there’s going to be some mismatches between supply and demand -- we expect that,” Ramamurti said. Many of the pressures will prove “transitory,” he said.

The broader intention of Biden’s economic policy is to foster a tight labor market that drives up wages, he also said.

“What we are going to see then is a rise in wages, including, especially, for lower-income folks,” the White House economist said. “That’s part of the design here.”

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