A worker counts U.S. twenty dollar bills. (Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg)

Americans Buoyed by Job Conditions, But Wage Outlook Is Cooling

(Bloomberg) -- Take the latest Conference Board results with a grain of salt: U.S. consumers are feeling great about the state of the job market, but their outlook for wages is sending a less encouraging signal.

The survey’s labor differential -- measuring the share of respondents saying jobs are plentiful minus the share saying jobs are hard to get -- jumped to a 17-year high in May, according to data released Tuesday. Meanwhile, the income differential -- the difference between the share of households saying earnings will rise or decline in six months -- fell to a four-month low, though it’s still high by historical standards.

Arriving days before the monthly payrolls report for May, the confidence survey is a reminder of a labor-market anomaly seen throughout this economic expansion: hiring continues to climb at a steady pace while progress on worker pay has remained disappointing.

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