Tired of getting raises that you can jangle in your pocket? This year may be different.

After stagnating for years, wage gains will accelerate in 2014, a wide majority of leading economists predict in USA TODAY survey. The bigger paychecks should help fuel a more rapid recovery.

Average wages have risen about 2% a year since the recovery began in mid-2009, and have been virtually flat after adjusting for inflation. The modest increases have held back consumer spending, which typically accounts for nearly 70% of U.S. economic activity.

But the jobless rate has been falling rapidly, to 6.3% from 8.1% in August 2012. Economists say that as unemployment approaches 6% by year's end, a more limited supply of available workers will force employers to step up pay hikes.

Scott Anderson, chief economist of Bank of the West, expects average pay increases of close to 3% this year. Robert Mellman of JPMorgan Chase forecasts more modest advances of about 2.2%.

Sources: Jeff Crilley, USA Today

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