Despite reports of the booming job market, many workers are still struggling and have economic fears moving into the new year.
According to one source, half of U.S. workers haven’t received a pay boost of any kind in the past year. That includes getting a salary increase, taking a new job, or getting a promotion with better pay. Of those individuals who saw higher pay, 28% say it was due to a pay raise and 12% found a better paying job. Average hourly earnings went up 3.1% in 2019.
Raises, data suggest, often went beyond cost-of-living adjustments in 2019. About 38% of workers saw performance-related bonuses or raises, and 31% received promotions or were given new responsibilities. Less than a third (26%) of workers say they just received a cost-of-living increase.
There is some interesting 2019 data regarding generational differences in pay:
- Half of baby boomers got a pay raise that was performance-based, compared with 32% of millennials and 40% of Gen Xers.
- More than a third (34%) of millennials got a promotion that came with a pay increase. Only 22% of Gen Xers and 27% of boomers got salary hikes for this reason.
- Millennials (35%) were more likely to leave a job for a better paying position, compared to only 19% of Gen Xers and 9% of boomers.
Lower income workers didn’t benefit as much from pay raises and promotions, according to the numbers. In fact, 64% of households with an income of $30,000 or less didn’t see any pay increase in 2019, compared to 52% of those earning between $30,000 and $49,999 and 43% of households making between $50,000 and $74,999.
Elsewhere, the gender gap is showing signs of narrowing. Nearly half of both women (53%) and men (47%) report receiving no pay increase in 2019. Slightly more women (13%) than men (10%) left to take a better paying job sometime during the year.
Expect to stay on your toes to keep good employees in 2020. About a fourth (26%) of workers say they intend to look for a better job this year. This is particularly true of lower income workers, 37% of whom say they’ll be job hunting in the next 12 months.
All of this data, experts suggest, indicate that the labor market isn’t as strong as the headlines would have us believe. Many point to the Feds reducing the interest rate three times in 2019 in an attempt to boost economic expansion. However, many lower income workers continue to be left behind as salaries don’t keep with rising expenses.