The employment cost index increased by 0.7% in Q3, which was higher than the 0.5% expected by economists.

“This is the fastest pace of quarterly compensation that we have seen since late 2008,” BNP Paribas’ Bricklin Dwyer noted. “The measure popped up to 2.2% y/y, accelerating from the previous 10-month’s 1.8-2.0% range.”

A high number is a big deal, because it’s both a sign of inflation and labour-market tightness, two forces that put pressure on the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy sooner than later.

“This is the Fed’s preferred measure of wage growth and sustained rises of this magnitude could tilt officials towards raising rates earlier next year rather than later,” Capital Economics’ Paul Ashworth.

Three months ago, traders were quick to blame the surprise 0.7% jump in the ECI for one of the biggest stock market sell-offs of the year.

The prospect that the Fed could tighten monetary policy sooner than expected is frequently blamed for causing market volatility. The idea is that if the Fed tightens, then it pulls liquidity out of the credit markets, which indirectly would pull liquidity out of the stock markets.

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