Employers expect the average raise in 2014 to be 2.9 percent of base pay, according to a recent survey by consultancy firm Mercer. This increase would follow an average raise of 2.8 percent in 2013 and 2.7 percent in 2012 and 2011. The news is a boon for workers who have experienced nearly stagnant personal income growth in the post-recession era, and a welcome break for the 3.7 percent of employees who were subject to frozen salaries in 2013, down from 6.5 percent in 2012.
However, at 2.9 percent the expected average raise in 2014 is still more than half a percentage point below the average raise in the mid-2000s. Higher unemployment means more competition for any given job opening. A recent report from the Economic Policy Institute showed that there are 3.1 job seekers for every open position. The ratio has been 3-to-1 or greater since October 2008. The EPI said, “A job-seekers ratio above 3-to-1 means there are no jobs for more than two out of three unemployed workers,” and that the job-seekers ratio in a healthy economy would be close to 1-to-1.