Despite nonchalance among consumers, inflation is starting to have an impact on the Los Angeles economy.
The effects, while not yet dire, are widespread with construction, technology, housing and transportation among the most impacted sectors.
One of the more troubling emerging trends is wage inflation, with the local unemployment rate sinking to a seasonally adjusted level of 5.4 percent in March, the lowest level since May 1989.
“Our annual survey of our members showed that salaries were projected to increase at the highest rate since 1993,” said Bill Dahlman, president and chief executive of the Employers Group, a non-profit organization. “It’s a result of a tight labor market, and increased competition and recruiting from the dot-coms.”
While tech-related salaries have indeed been jumping, wage inflation is now spreading to less-glamorous positions.
“We haven’t seen minimum wages for a long time,” said Natalie Batts, branch supervisor with Manpower Temporary Services in downtown Los Angeles. “Receptionist and data-entry positions that used to pay around $8 an hour last year are now going for $11 to $12. These are essentially low-skilled administrative positions that require no other experience than being able to boot up a computer.”