Wage Increases for U.S. Workers Not Keeping Up With Inflation

Despite the weak economic recovery, workers are likely to see a pay raise next year -- though a modest one -- a new survey of employers suggests. Employees can expect, on average, base pay to rise 3 percent next year, according to the 2011/2012 U.S. Compensation Planning Survey, released this week by Mercer, a human-resource consultancy.

That modest rise is up slightly from gains of 2.9 percent this year, and 2.7 percent in 2010. Employees at the top of their game, however, can expect to do better, with an average expected increase of 4.4 percent. In more concrete terms, a worker making the current average weekly wage of $788.56 would see a raise of about $24 a week, raising annual earnings to $42,335 from $41,005, based on June data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most recent available.