Most Americans Received No Pay Increase In 2018

Most Americans say they didn't get a pay raise at their current job, or start a better paying job in the last 12 months, according to a Wednesday survey from Bankrate.com

According to the poll, 62% of Americans report not getting a pay raise or better paying job in the past year - up from 52% last surveyed last year. That said, just 25% of respondents in this year's survey said they would look for a new job in the next year. 

Mike Gnitecki, a licensed paramedic in Longview, Texas, is one of the Americans whose wages flatlined.

Because of a pay freeze at his previous employer, the University of Texas Health hospital system, he hadn’t seen a pay increase for the past three years. He’s been stuck at a base pay of $43,500 a year, with the opportunity for overtime.

It basically feels like my pay has dropped each year due to normal cost-of-living increases,” Gnitecki says. “At the same time, my experience and responsibility has increased.” -Bankrate.com

32% of those polled by Bankrate said they received a raise, vs. 38% last year, while just 11% of respondents got a better paying job - down from 18% last year. 

After feeling "frustrated," Gnitecki reached a turning point and found a similar paramedic job with a "decent increase" in pay and benefits, which he starts this month. 

"It feels really good because it kind of feels like I’m being paid how much I should be paid," he said, adding "I’m very glad I made the switch."

As Marketwatch notes, meanwhile, the average CEO at the largest 350 companies in the US received a 17.6% increase in pay in 2017 - clocking in at an average of $18.9 million, according to an August study from the Economic Policy Institute. 

Bankrate Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride says that while the economy might be doing great right now, however productivity isn't following suit and may explain the stagnation in wage growth. 

"The economy might be doing better, but employees aren’t cranking out more output per hour of work," said McBride.

"A technological advancement or breakthrough could help, and in a lot of ways, just how work is done could be more efficient in the workplace."

According to Bankrate, young workers aged 18-27 were the most likely to receive a promotion or new job responsibilities that resulted in a pay raise, and were the most likely group to say they will seek a new job in the next 12 months. 

Among all respondents who got a raise, 37 percent reported it being performance-based, showing no difference from last year’s survey. About 29 percent cited raises because of a promotion or new job responsibilities, up from 24 percent last year. About 27 percent stated a raise was given as a cost-of-living increase, also unchanged from last year. Just 4 percent cited a raise for some other reason. -Bankrate.com

Baby boomers, meanwhile, were the least likely to get a raise according to the survey. 

Older baby boomers, ages 64-72, had the highest incidence of reporting neither a pay raise nor a better paying job, at 79 percent. This generation is at their peak earning potential, McBride says, and opportunities tend to dissipate at this stage. -Bankrate.com

Despite the lack of wage growth, the Bankrate survey found that 91% of those polled had the same or greater confidence in the job market than one year ago, while just 9% said they have lower confidence. Of course, the caveat is that those making more money felt better about how things are going; 38% of those earning above $75,000 per year had increased confidence in the job market, while 24% of households making under $30,000 said the same. 

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