Jamie Dimon Sees ‘Huge Pressure’ on Wages for First Time in His Life

(Bloomberg) - Jamie Dimon said that, for the first time in his life, there’s “huge pressure” on the U.S. labor market.

“The price of labor’s going up, we’re going to have to deal with it,” the JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief executive officer said in an interview on Fox Business that aired Tuesday.

Still, Dimon said the situation isn’t as bad as other potential economic scenarios. “It’s much worse to complain about 15% unemployment and a recession than it is to complain about wages going up too fast,” he said.

Average hourly earnings rose more than economists expected in December, matching the largest advance since April and indicating employers’ willingness to pay more to attract and retain workers.

Wall Street has been grappling with a surge in turnover in recent months, resulting in firms including JPMorgan paying more for talent from junior bankers to the C-suite. JPMorgan warned in October that compensation costs may rise in 2022.

In the wide-ranging interview, Dimon also said he expects banks will report loan growth numbers that are better now than they were a quarter ago, ahead of the firm’s fourth-quarter earnings report on Friday. Loan growth has been elusive all year as consumers and companies, flush with stimulus cash, held off on borrowing more.

“Loan growth on the business side will probably return to normal,” Dimon said. “On the consumer side it will return to normal, it may just take another six or nine months.”

Also in Dimon’s comments:

  • The digital bank JPMorgan launched last year in the U.K. is “doing great,” Dimon said. Over time, the firm may add products, services and countries, he said, adding that JPMorgan may go into mortgages or small-business lending in the U.K.

  • On China, Dimon said that “if you’re doing business in China, yes the risk went up,” but JPMorgan is “just going to have to navigate around that.”

  • Dimon sees a lot of volatility in the market this year with interest rates likely going up. But he said “you’re going to probably have a pretty strong economy, which is maybe more important for most Americans.”

By Hannah Levitt


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