More Than Half of Americans Got No Pay Raise in the Past Year

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The U.S. economy has been growing, but the pace of growth has slowed in the past year, and while many Americans are seeing the benefits of a rising economy, many more are not. In the past 12 months, average weekly earnings in the United States rose 2.5% to $891.65.

A recent survey by researchers at Bankrate revealed that Americans judge their incomes more on their feelings about what they earn than on the hard data. Respondents to the survey fielded early in November indicated that exactly half of employed respondents said they got a pay raise in the past 12 months.

In the monthly wage tracker maintained by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 13.5% of workers reported no change in income in the past 12 months, and another quarter experienced a decrease. According to Bankrate, which cited the Atlanta Fed’s results, this is what the two surveys indicate:

Less than half of workers saw their incomes fall or go stagnant. This indicates that Bankrate’s survey question elicited people’s feelings about their incomes, rather than hard data about their incomes.

Essentially, when people are asked about their incomes, they respond to the unasked question, “So, how are things going?” Their answers are often based on how they feel about their living standard compared with their neighbors and friends.

According to Bankrate’s survey, less than a third (30%) of Americans feel that their overall financial situation is better than it was 12 months ago. Just over half (52%) think it is about the same and 16% said it was worse.

For more details and some personal stories, see the Bankrate website.