Inflation Continues To Outpace Raises as Only 17% of Americans Say Their Pay is Keeping Up

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Many Americans are getting paid more now than they did in previous years, but that extra money isn’t doing much to offset spiraling inflation in most parts of the country, according to a new survey from The New York Times.

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Only 17% of workers responded that they had received raises which kept up with inflation over the past year, according to a survey of 5,365 adults which was conducted last month by Momentive for The New York Times. The majority of the remaining respondents said they either received raises that lagged behind inflation — or got no raise at all. Another 8% of those polled said their pay was cut.

Nearly 90% of respondents said they are at least “somewhat concerned” about inflation, with roughly 60% saying they are “very concerned.”

As previously reported by GOBankingRates, inflation has been hovering at around 6% in recent months  — a 30-year high — while median U.S. salary budget increases continue to remain steady at about 3%. That’s expected to continue in 2022, The Conference Board said last summer.

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Recent figures show a similar pattern of disparity between inflation and pay hikes. The Consumer Price Index rose 6.8% in November to a nearly four-decade high, while average hourly earnings climbed 4.8% for the month.

Some sectors of the economy have been doling out raises at a much faster pace, however. As The New York Times noted, government data shows that wage gains are outpacing inflation in the service sector, where intense competition for workers has forced employers to hike pay at a much faster rate than other industries.

Learn: The Year in Inflation: What It Meant for the US — And Your Wallet
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But most of the rest of the country is in the economic doldrums. Concerns about inflation have contributed to the lowest level of consumer confidence in the nearly five years that Momentive (formerly Survey Monkey) has conducted its survey.

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“Pretty much the only group of people who say they’re better off now than they were a year ago are people who’ve gotten a pay raise that matches or beats inflation,” Laura Wronski, a research scientist at Momentive, told The New York Times.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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