Entries in Wages (7)


What to Expect If You're Expecting a Raise

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- How much higher can those fortunate enough to have a job expect their salaries to rise in the next year? The answer is three percent, according to a study by the consulting firm, Hay Group.

According to the consulting firm’s research, executives, middle management, supervisory and clerical positions will see a median three percent pay increase in 2013, based on data collected between May and June this year from 350 organizations.

The study found the vast majority of organizations, at least 80 percent, reported an average increase of between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent salary.

The oil and gas and luxury retail sectors reported the highest median increases at 3.3 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.

“Historically many employees saw annual salary budget increases greater than three percent, with a drastic dip or freeze during the 'great recession,' and now we have settled into what may be a new normal of three percent,” said Jeff Blair, Hay Group’s U.S. Productized Services Leader.

In 2000, salaries increased a median of 4.4 percent, followed by an uneven decline in the increases, according to the Hay Group.

Blair said this is not a “sustainable strategy, especially for hot jobs or hard-to-fill positions.”

Employers will have to be committed to creating a positive work climate among other ways to keep employers and stay productive, he said.

Wages and salaries increased 1.7 percent for the current 12-month period ending in March 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared to 1.6 percent for March 2011.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Missouri Petitions to Raise Minimum Wage

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- What's the national minimum wage? If you're, say, one of three Republican candidates running in Missouri's U.S. Senate primary, you might be hard-pressed to remember it (it's $7.25).

But if you're one of about 173,000 people living in Missouri, you can probably rattle it off the top of your head. That's the number of people in Missouri -- enough signatures to put the measure on the November ballot -- who signed a petition to raise the state's minimum wage from the national average per hour to $8.25 in 2013, and provide for cost-of-living adjustments in the future.

The measure would also require that employees who earn tips receive 60 percent of the state minimum wage, up from the current 50 percent. And if the federal minimum wage rises above the state rate, then Missouri would adopt the federal wage and apply cost-of-living adjustments to that.

There's a good chance that the measure will pass. Missouri Jobs with Justice, a backer of the minimum wage proposal, supported a successful campaign in 2006 to approve a ballot measure that raised Missouri's minimum wage to $6.50, with adjusted cost-of-living increases.

But not everyone is in favor of it. Some critics of the change says the ballot summaries and cost estimates for the proposals are unfair.

Many economists maintain that raising the minimum wage can negatively impact employment numbers, especially among teenagers and young workers. Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James Equity Research, in St. Petersburg, Fla., said that he does not think the Missouri situation would cause any problems. "It's probably not going to matter much," he said. "The typical concern is that it will lead to less-entry level jobs for young people. That's the fear. But again -- what's the going wage and what are the typical starting salaries in an office or fast food? Very often those are well above the minimum wage in some areas."

On its website, the U.S. Department of Labor lists the states whose minimum wage is above the national average, below, the same -- or doesn't have a minimum wage law. (23 states have a minimum wage at the federal level of $7.25.)

Here's the top states with the highest minimum wages:

1. Washington


2. Oregon


3. Vermont


4. Nevada, Connecticut, Illinois


Here are the bottom states with the lowest minimum:

47. Arkansas


(Applicable to employers of 4 or more)

48. Georgia


49. Minnesota

Small employer (enterprise with annual receipts of less than $625,000) $5.25

Large employer (enterprise with annual receipts of $625,000 or more) $6.15

50. Wyoming


(Applicable to employers of 4 or more employees)

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama's Economic Pick Draws Fire on Wages, Clunkers

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Princeton economist Alan Krueger, President Obama's nominee for top White House economic adviser, has drawn fire over his work on the "cash for clunkers" program and controversial academic papers on job creation and health care mandates.

Krueger, if confirmed, is expected to play a key role in shaping the White House's plans to solve the lingering unemployment problem.

Obama nominated Krueger on Monday to chair the three-person Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), on which the president said he relies "to provide unvarnished analysis and recommendations, not based on politics, not based on narrow interests, but based on the best evidence -- based on what's going to do the most good for the most people in this country."

Roberton Williams, senior fellow with the Tax Policy Center, said the toughest challenge for the CEA chair will be to help solve persistent joblessness.

"Unemployment is a really hard problem to solve.  If it was easy, we would have solved it long ago," Williams said.  "For somebody who wants to influence policy, it's about as good a job you can get."

Krueger was chief economist at the U.S. Treasury and assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department from May 2009 to November 2010, just as the White House implemented the controversial cash allowance rebate system --  or "cash for clunkers" program -- which lasted from July through August 2009.

Critics of the rebate program, which allowed Americans to trade an older gas-guzzling vehicle for $3,500 or $4,500 of credit towards a new car, say its economic impact was short-lived, and ended up boosting the sales of foriegn cars.

About 700,000 cars were traded as a result of the program and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates, Cash for Clunkers resulted in a $3.8 billion to $6.8 billion increase in GDP and over 60,000 jobs created or saved. However,, which provides independent automotive information, estimated that of those 700,000 cars, only 125,000 were incremental sales while the remaining would have been sold independent of the program.  Edmunds also estimates the program cost taxpayers $24,000 per vehicle sold.

As chief advisor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Krueger had a role in almost every tax policy that originated out of the White House during that time, but that does not necessarily mean he supported them, according to Williams.

"What people do publicly does not necessarily reflect their personal views.  It was an administration policy and he supported it," Williams said.

Other policies that Krueger may have helped implement were the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment, or HIRE, Act from March 2010 and a Social Security payroll tax cut which provided a two percentage point payroll tax cut for employees, reducing their Social Security tax withholding rate from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent of wages paid.  The payroll tax cut was a part of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act approved in December 2010.

A White House spokeswoman said Krueger is not conducting press interviews as he awaits confirmation for his new role from Congress.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Report Shows College Grads Earn More, Face Less Unemployment

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- College graduates earn far more money than most people without a degree and the gap is continuing to grow, according to a new report released Tuesday by Georgetown University.

"On average if you get a bachelor's degree you'll earn 84 percent more than somebody who has high school degree," says Anthony Carnevale of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Graduates also face a lower rate of unemployment.

"They're out of work at about one-third the rate of people with only high school degrees," says Carnevale.

And while some college majors carry far more earnings potential than others, "the higher degree level in general will make you more salable once the economy comes around," he adds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Could You Be Making More at Your Job?

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Are you making as much money as you should be at your job?

According to jobs experts, women are a lot less likely than men to ask for a raise.

"[Women] think if they're doing a great job a boss is just going to say, 'Hey, you're doing a great job.  Would you like a raise?'  That never happens.  You really do have to ask," says Nicole Williams, an employment expert.

And don't underestimate what you're worth.

"If you do have valuable skills you definitely want to be articulating what your value is to the company and ask for that raise," Williams says.

If you're interested in what others are making in your position, you can compare wages and salaries at or

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Manufacturing in America: US Set for a 'Manufacturing Renaissance'

Dynamic Graphics/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- In the next five years, the U.S. will experience a "manufacturing renaissance," according to a new analysis.

As wages in China increase, flexible work rules and government incentives in the U.S. will make America one of the cheapest places to manufacture goods in the developed world, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) analysis suggests.

"If the trend plays out, I think you'll see manufacturing growing and expanding in the U.S.," said Michael Zinser, one of the authors of BCG's analysis on manufacturing. "What we're expecting is that companies will step back and rethink their networks, rethink their supply chains."

Chinese wage rates likely will continue to grow by 15 to 20 percent year over year, Zinser said. When the increase in wages is combined with the increasing value of the yuan, the wage gap between the U.S. and China is narrowing rapidly.

"China is no longer expected to be the default low-cost manufacturing location for those companies who are looking to supply the U.S. market," Zinser told ABC News. "What we would expect to see is a convergence in terms of the wage rates to what we're seeing in the U.S. today."

Harold Sirkin, lead author of the analysis on manufacturing, expects the convergence to occur "by around 2015."

While some companies will decide to manufacture in the U.S., others will look for lower wages in other countries, Zinser said.

But one of the advantages U.S. manufacturers have, according to BCG, is that the work force is becoming more flexible.

Kevin Sauder, president and CEO of Sauder Furniture, recently started sourcing component parts regionally, a process his purchasing team called "insourcing."

"Supporting local and American jobs is one factor that gets considered," Sauder told ABC News. "It's not the main factor, but it's one thing that gets considered. All things being equal, we would always prefer to go with a regional manufacturer. ... Using regional components improved our ability to be flexible in new product development."

The change allowed the company to get more contracts, Sauder said, because it was able to build prototypes more quickly for stores such as Walmart and Ikea because the component pieces arrived weeks earlier.

Even though the U.S. manufacturing sector maybe be poised for a comeback, Zinser cautioned that it did not mean China is on the decline.

"China is going to continue to be a major global player," said Zinser. "China is still a large market and many companies are going to want to continue supplying that market."

U.S. consumers should expect industries such as construction equipment and appliances to be impacted first, he said, while industries such as textiles and consumer electronics may never be affected.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Working in America: Public vs. Private Sector

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As the protests in Wisconsin bring the issues of public sector workers' pay and benefits into the national spotlight, it’s important to understand the actual differences between what government worker and private sector workers actually get in return for their efforts.
The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2009) show that government workers make about 5 percent more than private sector workers on average.  But, as can be seen in the data listed below, the headline numbers hide some major disparities beyond the headlines.

Average Annual Wage

Federal Govt. Workers -- $67,756
State Police -- $61,000
Local Firefighters -- $60,572
State Govt. Workers -- $48,742
State Legislative Workers -- $48,129
Government (all types) -- $47,552
Private (total sector) -- $45,155
Local Govt. Workers -- $43,140
Local Schools -- $41,113
Average Annual Wage

Private Sector CPA -- $71,216
Federal Govt. CPA -- $67,531
Local Govt. CPA -- $64,050

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009

Local teachers make 9 percent less than the average private sector worker. And federal employees are substantially better paid than the average state worker.

But working for the government doesn’t automatically mean a bigger paycheck. Take, for example, accountants. Government data shows that a certified public accountant who works in the private sector will have an annual salary of $71,000. That same certification and education will lead to a $68,000 average salary for the federal government and $64,000 if you work for a local government.


Some of this headline pay disparity is likely attributable to the union representation many in government enjoy. In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed that 36.2 percent of public sector workers were unionized, compared to a 6.9 percent union membership rate for private sector workers.

Workers in education, training and library occupations had the highest unionization rate at 37.1 percent.
Public sector workers also are significantly more likely to have traditional pension plans -- called “defined benefit” plans. The latest data from BLS showed 20 percent of workers in the private sector have pension plans. In the public sector, defined benefit plan coverage is four times greater -- about 79 percent.
The latest Kaiser Family Foundation survey on the costs of health insurance showed government workers are more likely to be offered health insurance while they work and in retirement.

In retail firms, for example, only 48 percent of workers were covered by health benefits offered by their firm (the worst industry for insurance coverage), compared to 80 percent of workers in state and local government (the best industry for insurance coverage).

And those state/local government employees are paying less for coverage than their private sector neighbors.
Data from Kaiser shows the average employee cost for “family” health coverage was around $3,700 in the latest year. Employees in the service sector pay about $4,200 for similar family coverage, mostly because their employers require a bigger contribution from the employee to get the benefit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio