Pay Raises Scarce Last Year

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If you have received a pay raise in the past 12 months, you’re one of the lucky ones. More than half (52%) of U.S. workers got no salary increase in the past year. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of American workers 53 years old and older did not get a wage hike or a better paying job, compared to less than half (47%) of those less than that age.

Of those who did get a raise, 38% were rewarded by their current employer and 18% found a better paying job. Some 8% managed to get both.

The data were reported by, which used researcher firm SSRS to conduct phone interviews with 1,009 respondents. Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride said:

While the economy continues to improve, it’s disappointing that Americans’ wages have not. Though younger workers are experiencing career advancement, older Americans are hampered by stagnant incomes. This makes it even more vital to start saving early, since significant wage gains become less frequent as you get older.

Most of the workers (24%) who received a pay raise received promotions and new responsibilities, up from 10% last year. Millennials were nearly twice as likely as GenXers to get a promotion-related raise (36% versus 20%) and more than six times as likely to get that raise as baby boomers.

Cost-of-living increases were scarcer than a year ago (27% versus 30%), and that fell particularly hard on boomers, 47% of whom indicated this as the reason they did not receive a pay increase.

Performance-based increases accounted for 37% of raises this year, down from 52% last year.

Striking a more positive tone, U.S. workers noted increased levels of job security, increased comfort level with debt, higher net worth and a better overall financial situation than a year ago.