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.”
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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A new survey by the Spectrem Group, a market research firm, finds that almost 80 percent of investors with net worth between $100,000 and $25 million (not including their home) say that the U.S. political environment is their biggest concern, followed by government gridlock (76 percent) and the national debt (75 percent).
At least two key Republican senators are unlikely to support an effort to roll back parts of the $1.3. trillion spending bill passed by Congress last month, The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis reported Monday evening. While aides to President Trump are working with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on a package of spending cuts, Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) expressed opposition to the idea, meaning a rescission bill might not be able to get a simple majority vote in the Senate. And Roll Call reports that other Republican senators have expressed significant skepticism, too. “It’s going nowhere,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said.
David Kostin, chief U.S. equity strategist at Goldman Sachs, said in a note to clients Friday cited by CNBC that companies in the S&P 500 can expect to see a boost in return on equity (ROE) thanks to the tax cuts. Return on equity should hit the highest level since 2007, Kostin said, providing a strong tailwind for stock prices even as uncertainty grows about possible conflicts over trade.
Return on equity, defined as the amount of net income returned as a percentage of shareholders’ equity, rose to 16.3 percent in 2016, and Kostin is forecasting an increase to 17.6 percent in 2018. "The reduction in the corporate tax rate alone will boost ROE by roughly 70 [basis points], outweighing margin pressures from rising labor, commodity, and borrow costs," Kostin wrote.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the tax cuts and economic environment are prompting U.S. companies to go on a buying binge: “Mergers and acquisitions announced by U.S. acquirers so far in 2018 are running at the highest dollar volume since the first two months of 2000, according to Dealogic. Thomson Reuters, which publishes slightly different numbers, puts it at the highest since the start of 2007.”