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, according to the government's Employment Cost Index, released Friday. That is 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.
The ECI tracks pay and benefits for existing jobs, so it isn't affected by layoffs or shifts in the types of jobs that exist in the economy.
Also Friday, a separate measure of personal income compiled by the Commerce Department found that overall U.S. income fell by 1.1% in June, following a steeper drop of 4.4% in May. Those figures reflect the massive job losses of recent months.
Pay and benefits increased 2.7% in the year ending in June, the same as in June 2019. That suggests that the impact of the coronavirus has not yet lasted long enough to impact the annual figures.
20 High-Yield Dividend Stocks that Could Ruin Your Retirement Portfolio
Almost everyone loves a company that pays strong dividends. Who doesn't like receiving a check every quarter for simply owning a stock--especially if that stock is paying you back 4%, 5% or even 10% of its share price in annual income each year?. In a world where 10-year treasuries are yielding just above 2%, it seems hard to go wrong when buying a stock that's yielding significantly above the going rates on fixed-income assets. Unfortunately, the market rarely offers a free lunch.
While high-yield stocks may have a lot of near-term attractiveness, those same high-yields can often signal significant danger ahead. In some cases, it might mean that the company's dividend will stop growing or won't grow as fast as it used to. Worse yet, the company could cut its dividend, reduce the income you receive from owning the stock and drive down the value of the shares that you own.
4%-plus yields might seem like an easy opportunity to boost the investment income you receive, but high-yield stocks can just as often be a track reading to snare unsuspecting investors. It's not always easy to tell the difference though.
This slideshow highlights 10 high-yield dividend stocks that are paying an unsustainably large percentage of their earnings in the form of a dividend. These companies are all paying out more than 100% of their earnings per share in the form of a dividend, a sign that the advertised high-yield probably won't last.
View the "20 High-Yield Dividend Stocks that Could Ruin Your Retirement Portfolio".