‘Anemic’ wage growth in Massachusetts puzzles economists

BOSTON (AP) — Economists say they’re puzzled by what they call “anemic” growth in wages for Massachusetts workers.

The editorial board of MassBenchmarks, a journal of the state’s economy, says despite low unemployment, continued job growth and strong demand by employers for both skilled and unskilled labor, wages have barely budged in recent years.

The economists wrote Wednesday that wages would normally be expected to climb under such circumstances.

Among the possible explanations: The decline of labor unions; rising health insurance costs that diminish the ability of employers to raise salaries; and the replacement of retiring workers with younger employees who often earn less.

Slow wage growth has dragged down state tax revenues, complicating efforts by Massachusetts lawmakers to approve a budget for the new fiscal year that begins on Saturday.