U.S. raises are trending down this year as the job market cools

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There’s hope on the horizon for many different financial markets in 2024, but employee raises aren’t looking too promising, a WTW study reports.

Employers in the U.S. are planning an average wage increase of 4% in 2024. This is down 0.4% from 2023 when the average increase was 4.4%. This shouldn’t be disheartening to employees, however, since 4% is a good bit higher than the average salary increase of 3.1% back in 2021, the report cites.

“We are seeing healthy salary increases forecasted for 2024,” said Hatti Johannsson, research director of Reward, Data and Intelligence at WTW. “Though economic uncertainty looms, employers are looking to remain competitive for talent, and pay is a key factor. At the same time, organizations should remember pay levels are difficult to reduce if markets deteriorate. It’s best to avoid basing decisions that will have long-term implications on their organization on temporary economic conditions.”

The reasons employers are lessening their raises this year is the same reason behind many of the current economic challenges: inflation. 55% of respondents to WTW’s survey cited inflation as the biggest reason they’re cutting back.

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The job market has experienced substantial change in the last few years, with remote work and hybrid employment becoming the norm in many industries.

These types of positions are quickly becoming more competitive as more employees seek them out. Remote and hybrid workers, in some instances, earn more than in-person workers, according to a Ringover study

Remote workers earn 9.76% more than other workers. Hybrid workers also earn more, with salaries just $140 less than remote workers, on average.

Certain states have clearly adopted the remote work culture more than others, offering these higher-paying salaries for those willing to remain remote. Baltimore, Maryland has one of the highest differences between remote worker salaries and office-based salaries, at 39.16%, according to Ringover’s research.

Indianapolis, Indiana comes in second, with a 29.76% difference between remote and office-based salaries.

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In contrast, San Antonio was one of the five cities in Ringover’s study that offered higher salaries for workers willing to work in-person. There’s a 6.85% difference in salaries between office workers and remote workers.

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As workers are met with smaller wages, increasing pressure from inflation and a world that hasn’t fully recovered from the pandemic, Americans are struggling financially.

16% of Americans are in such dire straights that they believe their finances will never recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Real Estate Witch study.

Not everyone shares the same pessimism, but many Americans are dealing with short-term financial issues, directly due to the pandemic. After three years, 72% of Americans have yet to recover from the financial implications of the pandemic, Real Estate Witch’s study cites.

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Day-to-day finances aren’t all that’s difficult for Americans. Homebuying is also a struggle, due to inflated prices and an oversaturated housing market. About half of the respondents to the Real Estate Witch study don’t believe they’ll ever buy a home.

Debt payoff is another impossible task for Americans these days. 33% of survey respondents don’t believe they’ll be able to pay off their debt in a year, while 6% don’t believe paying off debt will ever be a possibility.

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Have a finance-related question, but don’t know who to ask? Email The Credible Money Expert at [email protected] and your question might be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.


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