Wage Policy in Recovery

June 21, 1961

Report Outline
Brakes on Wage-Price Increases
Three Decades of Ascending Wages
Current Conflicts in Wage Policy
Special Focus

Brakes on Wage-Price Increases

Satisfaction over multiplying signs that the country is fast leaving the recession behind is currently clouded by fears that too vigorous a recovery will set in motion a new inflationary surge. The risks in the situation have impelled the Kennedy administration to make special efforts to prevail on labor and management to keep wage-price levels steady as business activity expands.

Unless restraint is exercised, administration economists have warned, inflation may wipe out a large part of the gains in national income and individual purchasing power to be expected from economic growth. First indications of the effectiveness of such warnings and appeals in an important sector of the economy will be given by the negotiations for new labor contracts with automobile manufacturers that are scheduled to open at the end of the present month.

Government efforts to persuade business and labor leaders voluntarily to forgo price and wage increases have not been conspicuously successful in the past. Current appeals, therefore, are being greeted with a certain degree of skepticism, Edwin G. Nourse, first chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers after its creation early in the Truman administration, observed recently, for example, that “Already union leaders are busy preparing wage demands, and industrial price-makers are planning markups that will short-circuit the administration's full employment program into a new inflation game,” However, such factors as continuing heavy unemployment and the price competition that is coming from imports of goods produced in low-wage countries may dispose both labor and management to give more than passing attention to voices now urging moderation.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Cost of Living and Wages
Apr. 17, 2020  Inequality in America
Sep. 08, 2017  Universal Basic Income
Apr. 08, 2016  Future of the Middle Class
Apr. 18, 2014  Wealth and Inequality
Jan. 24, 2014  Minimum Wage
Jun. 19, 2009  Rethinking Retirement
Mar. 06, 2009  Middle-Class Squeeze
Mar. 14, 2008  Gender Pay Gap
Dec. 16, 2005  Minimum Wage
Sep. 27, 2002  Living-Wage Movement
Apr. 17, 1998  Income Inequality
Oct. 27, 1978  Wage-Price Controls
Jun. 16, 1978  Military Pay and Benefits
Mar. 23, 1966  Rising Cost of Living
Oct. 25, 1961  Price-Wage Restraints in National Emergencies
Jun. 21, 1961  Wage Policy in Recovery
Jun. 11, 1958  Prices and Wages in the Recession
Sep. 18, 1957  Control of Living Costs
Nov. 02, 1955  Wages, Prices, Profits
Jan. 26, 1954  Minimum Wage Raise
Jan. 02, 1954  Cost of Living
Jan. 21, 1953  Guaranteed Annual Wage
Dec. 17, 1952  Future of Price and Wage Controls
Nov. 19, 1951  Fringe Benefits and Wage Stabilization
Dec. 06, 1950  Wage Control
Jun. 13, 1949  Wages in Deflation
Jun. 04, 1947  Guarantees of Wages and Employment
Oct. 29, 1946  Decontrol of Wages
Dec. 01, 1945  Minimum Wages
Sep. 29, 1945  Wage Policy
Oct. 27, 1944  Wage Security
May 17, 1943  Incentive Wage Payments
Aug. 25, 1941  Prices, Profits, and Wage Control
Apr. 28, 1941  Wartime Changes in the Cost of Living
Sep. 21, 1940  Two Years of the Wage-Hour Law
Nov. 01, 1938  Industry and Labor Under the Wage-Hour Act
Jan. 20, 1938  Wage Rates and Workers' Incomes
Apr. 11, 1935  The Cost of Living in the United States
Sep. 01, 1930  Wages and the Cost of Living
May 24, 1930  The Anthracite Wage Agreement
Feb. 20, 1925  Measure of Recovery in Profits and Wages Since 1920–21 Depression
Economic Analyses, Forecasts, and Statistics