Full text Adobe PDF file format


Wage pressures among the newly employed in low-wage service occupations appear to be the result of normal economic forces, likely reflecting demand surges for—and a reluctant supply of—workers in occupations particularly hard hit by pandemic-induced economic shutdowns.

Key findings:

  1. There is evidence of significant wage pressures among low-wage service occupations.
  2. A combination of surging demand and reluctant supply appears to be driving current wage pressures.
  3. It's too soon to know if wage pressures will expand to other occupations.

The Center for Human Capital Studies

JEL classification: J2, J3

Key words: Labor demand, labor supply, reservation wage, COVID recovery, inflation pressures


The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's Policy Hub leverages the expertise of Atlanta Fed economists and researchers to address issues of broad policy interest. Our research centers coordinate this work and seek to influence policy discussions. Areas of interest include: forecasting, fiscal policy, and macroeconomics (Center for Quantitative Economic Research); financial stability, innovation, and regulation (Center for Financial Innovation and Stability); human capital, labor markets, health, and education (Center for Human Capital Studies); and government-sponsored entity reform, mortgage markets, and affordable housing (Center for Housing and Policy). Sign up for email updates. Under "Publications" select "Policy Hub."