Wages and benefits grow at slowest pace in 3 years

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FILE – In this Nov. 27, 2019, file photo Jayln Martin, right, and Dan Villegas stock items in preparation for a holiday sale at a Walmart Supercenter in Las Vegas. On Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, the Labor Department reports on wages and benefits for U.S. workers during the Oct.-Dec. quarter. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wages and benefits for U.S. workers rose at the slowest pace in three years in the April-June quarter, a sign that businesses are holding back on pay as well as cutting jobs in the coronavirus recession.

Pay and benefits increased 0.5% in the second quarter, down from 0.8% in the first three months of the year. Wages and salaries rose just 0.4%, while benefits jumped 0.8%.

Employers shed 22 million jobs in March and April before rehiring about one-third of those workers in May and June. That has left the unemployment rate at 11.1%, one of the highest rates since the Depression. With the unemployment rate so high, workers who still have jobs have less ability to resist pay cuts or demand raises.

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