"High unemployment and low inflation may lead to a decline in pay—and that could slow the recovery
For now, pay is still rising—a little less than 2% for the year through June 2008, according to the government's employment cost index. But the weak job market is creating the perfect conditions for a decline in pay: low inflation and high unemployment (9.7% in August). With a huge reserve army of unemployed—more than 2 million of them college-educated—it would be easy for many employers to demand concessions.
One of Wall Street's more bearish forecasters, Goldman Sachs chief U.S. economist Jan Hatzius, predicts that average hourly earnings will fall about half a percent from the fourth quarter of 2009 through the fourth quarter of 2010. Hatzius says his prediction accounts for workers' strong aversion to wage cuts. Without that adjustment, the projection would be negative 2%."Source: Business Week