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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Chart of the Week: Lowering Medicare Drug Prices

A growing number of patients are being denied access to newer oral chemotherapy drugs for cancer pills with annual price tags of more than $75,000.
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By Michael Rainey

The U.S. could save billions of dollars a year if Medicare were empowered to negotiate drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies, according to a paper published by JAMA Internal Medicine earlier this week. Researchers compared the prices of the top 50 oral drugs in Medicare Part D to the prices for the same drugs at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which negotiates its own prices and uses a national formulary. They found that Medicare’s total spending was much higher than it would have been with VA pricing.

In 2016, for example, Medicare Part D spent $32.5 billion on the top 50 drugs but would have spent $18 billion if VA prices were in effect – or roughly 45 percent less. And the savings would likely be larger still, Axios’s Bob Herman said, since the study did not consider high-cost injectable drugs such as insulin.  

Why Craft Brewers Are Crying in Their Beer

		<p>The $85 billion in spending cuts is just $10 million more than what Americans spent on beer in 2011.</p>
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By Michael Rainey

It may be small beer compared to the problems faced by unemployed federal workers and the growing cost for the overall economy, but the ongoing government shutdown is putting a serious crimp in the craft brewing industry. Small-batch brewers tend to produce new products on a regular basis, The Wall Street Journal’s Ruth Simon says, but each new formulation and product label needs to be approved by the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which is currently closed. So it looks like you’ll have to wait a while to try the new version of Hemperor HPA from Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing, a hoppy brew that will include hemp seeds once the shutdown is over.

Number of the Day: $30 Billion

Benis Arapovic/GraphicStock
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The amount spent on medical marketing reached $30 billion in 2016, up from $18 billion in 1997, according to a new analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and highlighted by the Associated Press. The number of advertisements for prescription drugs appearing on television, newspapers, websites and elsewhere totaled 5 million in one year, accounting for $6 billion in marketing spending. Direct-to-consumer marketing grew the fastest, rising from $2 billion, or 12 percent of total marketing, to nearly $10 billion, or a third of spending. “Marketing drives more treatments, more testing” that patients don’t always need, Dr. Steven Woloshin, a Dartmouth College health policy expert and co-author of the study, told the AP.

70% of Registered Voters Want a Compromise to End the Shutdown

National Zoo closed in due to the partial government shutdown in Washington
KEVIN LAMARQUE
By The Fiscal Times Staff

An overwhelming majority of registered voters say they want the president and Congress to “compromise to avoid prolonging the government shutdown” in a new The Hill-HarrisX poll. Seven in ten respondents said they preferred the parties reach some sort of deal to end the standoff, while 30 percent said it was more important to stick to principles, even if it means keeping parts of the government shutdown. Voters who “strongly approve” of Trump (a slim 21 percent of respondents) favored him sticking to his principles over the wall by a narrow 54 percent-46 percent margin. Voters who “somewhat approve” of the president favored a compromise solution by a 70-30 margin. Among Republicans overall, 61 percent said they wanted a compromise.

The survey of 1,000 registered voters was conducted January 5 and 6 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.