The December edition default index suggests local borrowers may need to monitor their 2017 household budgets more carefully. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

By Jonathan Lansner
Posted: 02/06/17 – 5:04 PM PST |

It might not have been the year-end bonus you expected, as Southern California pay raises dipped to a one-year low as 2016 ended.

The Employment Cost Index for the five-county region showed wages and salaries growing at a 3.1 annual pace in December, down from 3.8 percent in September but up from 2.7 percent at 2015’s end. Pay hikes reached their 2016 peak in June, rising at a 4 percent annual rate.

Smaller pay raises may be tied to bosses’ year-end jitters with a new White House administration bringing uncertainty to economic policy. The fast pace of hiring slowed, too, as an example.

December job counts grew in Los Angeles County at 1.3 percent annual rate, the smallest increase since January 2015. Orange County bosses added jobs at a 2 percent rate, lowest since June 2014. The Inland Empire growth was 2.9 percent – well off the peak of 5.4 percent in December 2014.

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