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US Workers Are Increasingly Pessimistic About Achieving Higher Pay

Topics: Growth

Did you see the recent Reuters piece on “low hopes for higher pay”? It explained how and why the future (of earnings) looks dim to many of America’s workers. This is according to the New York Fed’s SCE Labor Market Survey, a new study on which researchers will produce a report every three months going forward.

In Monday’s release of the first report of the survey, which has been running and accumulating data since early 2014, U.S. workers said, on average, that the lowest annual salary they’d accept is $57,960 — which is down from the $59,660 figure respondents reported just four months earlier. Surveyed workers also predicted an average salary of $50,790 for new job offers over the next four months, having estimated it at $54,590 back in March.

And while more people, particularly young people, said they looked for a new job over the last four weeks (22.7 percent versus 19.4 percent in the last report), fewer report that they expect a job offer in the next four months than did eight months ago (22 percent versus 25 percent).

Are worker sentiments and expectations in line with reality? It seems so. National wages have not kept pace with the marked improvement the unemployment rate has seen since recovering from the 2008 Financial Crisis. Not even close. While unemployment is at 4.4 percent, near a 16-year low, “real wages” overall have dropped dramatically, and have only modestly increased since 2014, when the survey began.

What will the next batch of survey results reveal? We’ll be sure to track it and report back!

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Image: JD Hancock/Flickr

Cassie Sanchez
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