A Federal Reserve official took a shot Monday at companies saying they have worker shortages, arguing that workers are available if the pay is higher.
"If you're not raising wages, then it just sounds like whining," said Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari.
Kashkari was speaking to businesspeople at a Rotary Club meeting in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Asked about the minimum wage, Kashkari said his hope would be that falling unemployment eventually would force businesses to raise pay across the board to compete for labor.
"Are any of you planning to raise wages in the next year or two? Or are you just complaining about you can't find workers?" Kashkari asked the group.
"If you look at North Dakota in the oil boom — if you raise wages, people respond and you can find workers," he added.
Kashkari's questions were met with light applause.
Kashkari is a voting member of the Fed's monetary policy committee who has favored lower interest rates, a stance he has justified partly on the grounds that the relatively slow wage gains of recent months indicate that the economy isn't fully healthy.