Hoping for a Raise? Here’s How Much Most People Are Getting

Hoping for a Raise? Here’s How Much Most People Are Getting

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By Beth Braverman

Nearly all companies plan to give raises to their employees next year, with an average salary bump of 3 percent, the same increase workers received this year, according to a new survey released Monday by Towers Watson.

Raises for executives and management will be 3.1 percent.

“To a large extent, 3 percent pay raises have become the new norm in corporate America,” Sandra McLEllan, North American Practice Leader for Towers Watson said in a statement. “We haven’t seen variation from this level for many years.”

Related: The Real Root of America’s Wage Problem

While the average raise is 3 percent, companies plan to tie the amount of individual raises to worker performance. Employees with the best reviews will receive an average 4.6 percent increase in salary, while workers with below-average ratings will get less than 1 percent.

The survey also found that companies are shifting their compensation packages to include more short-term incentives and bonuses. Eighty-five percent of workers took home a bonus this year, up from 81 percent this year. Nearly 90 percent of exempt employees were eligible for an annual or short-term bonus.

Even as unemployment has finally fallen, wage growth since the Great Recession remains largely stalled. Last month, wages for civilian workers grew just 2.1 percent, according to the Employment Cost Index.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who is looking for economic growth before instituting a rate hike, has said that stagnant wages are one factor hampering such growth. After all, consumers can’t increase the amount of goods and services they can purchase if they aren’t increasing their pay.

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President Trump and the rest of the GOP are celebrating the recent burst in economic growth in the wake of the tax cuts, with the president claiming that it’s unprecedented and defies what the experts were predicting just a year ago. But Rex Nutting of MarketWatch points out that elevated growth rates over a few quarters have been seen plenty of times in recent years, and the extra growth generated by the Republican tax cuts was predicted by most economists, including those at the Congressional Budget Office, whose revised projections are shown below.

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The Great Recession hit state budgets hard, but nearly half are now prepared to weather the next modest downturn. Moody’s Analytics says that 23 states have enough reserves to meet budget shortfalls in a moderate economic contraction, up from just 16 last year, Bloomberg reports. Another 10 states are close. The map below shows which states are within 1 percent of their funding needs for their rainy day funds (in green) and which states are falling short.

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Wages Are Finally Going Up, Sort of

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By Yuval Rosenberg

Average hourly earnings last month rose by 2.9 percent from a year earlier, the Labor Department said Friday — the fastest wage growth since the recession ended in 2009. The economy added 201,000 jobs in August, marking the 95th straight month of gains, while the unemployment rate held steady at 3.9 percent.

Analysts noted, though, that the welcome wage gains merely kept pace with a leading measure of inflation, meaning that pay increases are largely or entirely being canceled out by higher prices. “The last time unemployment was this low, during the dot-com boom, wage growth was significantly faster — well above 3.5 percent,” The Washington Post’s Heather Long wrote. The White House Council of Economic Advisers this week issued a report arguing that wage gains over the past year have been better than they appear in official statistics.