Workers Can Expect Little Or No Raise In The Next 3 Years

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A new survey shows that America's businesses are growing strong and feeling optimistic, and that means their employees can expect a raise... A very small raise. A raise of 3 percent or less. Maybe zero.

Let's call it a turning point. That is, the economy is fairly healthy and getting stronger. New jobs are being created, and more are expected to be created down the line.

But it's not quite enough to inspire bosses to hand over substantial raises to their employees.

Wage growth is expected to remain "fairly subdued," rising only by zero to three percent over the next three years, according to the quarterly survey results, released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE).

The survey respondents, who are economists working in private companies or industries, are asked quarterly about a wide range of conditions affecting their businesses or industries.

They "overwhelmingly expected the economy to grow at least two percent, after taking inflation into account, over the next 12 months," Ken Simonson, chief economist of the Associated General Contractors of America, said in a statement. A majority expected growth of 2.1 percent to 3 percent.

Not a single one of the economists said they expected the economy to shrink this year.

Yet, eight out of 10 said they expected inflation-adjusted wage growth to stay at 0 to 3 percent for the next three years.

Still, it's an improvement. The average worker's inflation-adjusted wage actually shrank by .7 percent from 2011 through 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Employment Cost Index.

In the results of the latest survey, conducted March 18 to April 1, members reported strong expectations for sales over the rest of 2014, despite a rough winter. Of the respondents, 43 percent said they expected to raise prices in the current quarter, which began April 1.

About a quarter added new employees, and the same number reported shortages of skilled workers.

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