American workers’ job expectations jumped to a record high in November, as the US labor market is still hot and job seekers are trying to catch up with inflation, according to a survey Tuesday.
“The average reservation wage, which is the lowest wage respondents in the survey would be willing to accept for a new job, increased from $72,873 in July to $73,667 in November — the highest reading of the series.”
The increase was most pronounced for respondents younger than age 45, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said in its labor market survey.
The average expected annual salary for job offers in the next four months increased from $60,310 in July to $61,187 in November, which is also a new high.
“The proportion of individuals who reported searching for a job in the past four weeks decreased to 18.8 percent from 24.7 percent in July 2022,” it added.
The Fed is trying to see wage growth decline to levels compatible with its 2% inflation target in its fight against inflation which is still above 7%, but the labor market remains too hot.
With the coronavirus pandemic causing labor shortages during the shutdown, after the economy reopened, the number of available jobs has been well above the number of unemployed workers seeking jobs in the US, which benefits workers with more open positions who can demand higher wages from competing employers.
At the same time, however, workers are struggling with inflation, since real wages adjusted for inflation declined as prices for goods and services skyrocketed; thus, new job applicants are asking for higher salaries to see their wages outpace inflation to protect their purchasing power.
US job openings stood at 10.3 million in October, while the number of unemployed workers remained steady at around 6 million in October and November.