American Pay Dipped 3.2 Percent Last Year

If your pay rate has been frozen for the last couple years, take heart — you’re doing better than the average paycheck slave. Total American wages dropped 3.2 percent in 2009, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which pins part of the blame on manufacturing and construction industries.

The figures include not just pay wages, but contributions to insurance and retirement accounts. The County of New York and St. Louis were among the hardest hit, suffering drops of 7.4 percent and 11.5 percent, respectively.

Has your pay increased, decreased or remained the same since the end of last year?

Regional Economic Accounts [Bureau of Economic Analysis via L.A. Times, Fark]

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  1. Toffeemama is looking for a few good Otters says:

    My husband’s pay has stayed the same throughout the year. He didn’t get a Christmas bonus this year either, but to be honest, we weren’t expecting any. He also got a nice raise a while back due to an increase in responsibilities at his job, so we don’t want to complain.

    • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

      I’m pretty much exactly the same way. My pay has been frozen for the last 2 years, but I’m not about to complain, since I managed to get a raise with added responsibilities.

    • Roe says:

      My husband is indirectly in the home construction industry. The company mandated a 15% pay cut just to keep the company afloat. No unauthorized over time either. He made $15,000 less this year and now our insurance is going to sky rocket in January. So we’ve taken a really big hit this year. Unfortunately, there’s just no jobs out there for someone that’s been over 15 yrs. in the business that would pay worth a damn. soooooooo……..

  2. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I completely believe it.

    We just got word about a week ago that there will be no cost-of-living raises, no bonuses, and our health insurance premiums are going up 19% (even while dropping dental/vision).

    At the same time, all major utilities are asking our state PUC for more than 10% increases in rates. Yet, somehow inflation is supposedly at 0%.

  3. suez says:

    Not only was my pay frozen last year, but they increased my weekly hours from 37.5 to 40 without compensation (effectively a pay cut), AND my county discontinued the property tax relief program I used to max out the 8 years before, which meant suddenly $1000 more out of my pocket. This year I did get a tiny raise, but it barely covered the increase in parking fees and my condo fees, so it’s a wash. I know I should still count myself lucky, but when I hear about these buttheads on Wall Street and elsewhere talking about mind-boggling bonuses and golden parachutes, I just want to scream. If they want a revolution, they’re doing it by the book.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Our office did basically the same thing. They let go nearly all of our hourly staff and all salaried employees have to work significantly more hours to make up the difference. We’re intentionally underbidding projects just to bring in work, which means a lot of extra unpaid time.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      So you have a Masters in Financial Engineering or PhD in Physics? Papers published in the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis? No? Then that;s why you don’t make this kind of money.

      • Bsamm09 says:

        If you search princeton’s website under masters in finance there is a spot for recruiters to view resumes. Look at some of these. If you (or I ) worked this hard, we would deserve that kind of pay. These are not intelligent people, they are geniuses. Many already have MFins and/or Doctorates.

      • Geekybiker says:

        Doesn’t matter. A CEO’s make a disproportionate amount of money in relation to their contribution. The gap between the workers and the leaders used to make sense, but not it ceased to a long time ago.

        • Bsamm09 says:

          Please explain this statement? Let’s take Wal-Mart — A greeter stands there and says welcome to walmart. Their CEO has to work on budgets, project who the company will do in the future so they can decide what stores to build, cut etc. They have to do research about ways to innovate and and grow their profits. Then they have to answer to the BOD and stockholders. mistakes can lead to the downfall of the company.

          One man has the ultimate say in that and gets paid handsomely. That’s what he contributes and this takes vast amounts of time.

          Let’s assume that there are 2 greeters per store that work 30 hours/week for $5/hr & 52 weeks/yr at 6,200 Wal-mart stores. That equals $96,720,000 for one job class. CEO made $20 mil in 2009. That’s one job class and one that is basically useless.

          Companies have gotten bigger over the years and are more international. The CEOs have a lot more responsibility and difficulty in their positions. A wal-Mart greeter and many other jobs have not had these levels rise at all. CEOs contribute so much more.

          And you think people getting paid jobs that require multiple MS and PhDs getting paid more than non/low-skilled workers “doesn’t matter.”

          • Bsamm09 says:

            Last line was unclear. but I think you get the gist of it. higher training/education and more pay Does Matter.

            • dismalscience says:

              Nobody is saying that having more education or experience doesn’t matter. What people (I particularly recommend Lucian Bebchuk and the more general work on income distribution by Emmanuel Saez) have pointed out is that executive pay isn’t set through a normal market process, that it has increased rapidly over the past thirty years, even when expressed as a multiple of the average wage, and that this increase cannot be explained by education, performance, firm size, or a host of other potential factors.

          • OnePumpChump says:

            This would be airtight if success in their job actually mattered in terms of determining their compensation. Explain Bob Nardelli.

            • Bsamm09 says:

              Only way i can explain Nardelli is that the management technique (Six Sigma and centralization) that he employed at GE, which was successful, was not suited for Home Depot. They based his contract on what they thought he could bring to the company. He failed epically. They fired him. In the case studies I read about him, he was a tireless worker who employed a military like atmosphere at Home Depot that screwed the company over.

              The BOD dropped the ball by hiring him. They did can him 7 years later. At GE he rose up to be Senior Vice Pres but missed out on the CEO job and left. He seemed like a prime CEO to pick up. He wasn’t and they let him go.

              Also when success directly influences potential pay, short term bad manipulation can happen.

              I look at them like free agents. They built companies up in the past (no one goes directly to be a CEO), so other companies want them and will pay for them. But if you move from different industries, you can screw everything up. It would be like signing Jeter to play Tight end for the Browns. (Sort of)

            • dg says:

              Nardelli is a sales person who can sell snow to an eskimo in the middle of a blizzard. He came out of GE and everyone thought “ohhhh, Nardelli – he worked for GE. They do well. He knows six sigma, we’ll do well too.”

              Except that Nardelli is one of those guys who never gets out of the office and onto the front lines – he doesn’t deal with customers. So he has no clue when it comes to understanding the customer mindset. Nardelli took Six Sigma and perverted it – he tied store sales #’s to employee staffing levels. The idea being that as sales went down, your staffing went down, so you could control your costs.

              Great in theory, but in practice, they had lower sales numbers mainly because no customer could find an employee to help them, or find an employee with a brain because Nardelli fired all the old-time electricians and plumbers that would tell you how to do what you needed to – that’s what made Depot so great.

              When you can’t find people to help you, or they’re morons – you go to local stores and talk with those guys. So Ace did better while Depot did worse. Lowe’s came in a beat up Depot because they had more educated employees, and more of them.

              On top of that, Nardelli set bonus targets for store managers to hit w/r/t staffing, so the managers would understaff by an additional 10% to ensure they made their numbers. This had an additional effect on the store level sales.

              Nardelli also got distracted by trying to expand into a bunch of other companies – Expo (High end decor), Landscaping Supply, etc. all stuff that was nice, but ultimately not integrated too well. He also played other games with merchandising, etc. that caused problems.

              Since he wasn’t in the stores learning the business, he was on the golf course. So he met some other like-minded geniuses who hired him to screw up Chrysler…

              Personally I have no problem paying a CEO $1.00/year and making the other 99.9% of the compensation based on hitting achievable targets in sales, profitability, customer satisfaction, and so on… Then if the person earns the $20 million because the company did so well – it’s not a problem.

              As for the “golden parachutes” – they get those because they are so highly compensated, and those jobs are so few and far between, that it takes between 3 and 5 years to find a job – they are basically unemployed for 3-5 years at a time while finding the next gig, and since CEO (or C-Level) jobs are only usually for 3 – 4 year stints, that’s what the parachute is for.

              I do think that at least a portion of the parachute should be based on the past performance. So if someone totally hoses a company, then they will have to suffer for it after leaving…

      • suez says:

        How does this explain why they get bonuses for doing rotten jobs of it? Do you really think those folks at AIG EARNED those bonuses this year? Was it THEIR money they were risking? Please, spare me.

  4. Reading_Comprehension says:

    Mine went down 5% around the end of 2008, we got back 3% about six months ago. I don’t foresee a raise anytime soon, and have started a side-business for myself for extra scratch.

  5. tinyhands says:

    My pay has remained approximately the same, but my standard of living has declined due to the increased cost of goods & services. I no longer have cable tv, etc.

  6. mk says:

    Pay rate stayed the same but health insurance went up. Don’t know about bonuses/raises yet my company doesn’t do ours until February or March. But I absolutely can’t complain because I know so many people out of work. I am lucky and grateful for my job right now.

  7. PunditGuy says:

    I had to make my own raise at home. Dropped digital cable for lifeline = $40 per month raise.

  8. Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

    I got an 8% raise this year, and the bonuses we get as profit sharing were larger than usual.

    I don’t know what everyone’s complaining about, *I* am doing fine, and that’s all that matters. I guess you’re all lazy… work harder, you freeloaders.

    Oh, and pay your mortgages you deadbeats.

    (I make my own sarcasm at home.)

    • catnapped says:

      Exactly…you spoiled Americans are overpaid as is! How dare you complain about not getting a raise! You should consider yourselves lucky you’re getting a salary at all!

      (see mom…I can make my own sarcasm too!)

  9. Bativac says:

    My company just announced a 15% pay cut to everyone in my department. It goes along with our conversion from a professional environment to a call center, I guess. Interestingly they steadfastly refuse to admit that it’s a move to save money.

    I gotta get out of here. Anybody around these parts self-employed? How’s that working out?

  10. dizzy says:

    My employer had a couple hundred temps; they cut costs by letting go of the middle man and hiring every temp as a contract worker. We got no raise, and they save the $3-4 an hour per person plus it “reset” all of the temps that had been there long enough to qualify for vacation and holiday pay. We’re also still essentially temps because the contract we signed states they can let us go at any time, for any reason. I’ve only been here since February, so I hadn’t racked up vacation or holiday pay anyway, but some people have been here 5+ years and lost that after being accustomed to having it.

    But this time last year I was unemployed, and it’s a whole hell of a lot better than that.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      They can let anyone go for any reason (or no reason) at any time, that isn’t peculiar to temps.

      • dizzy says:

        Well, not exactly. I work for the state, so there are a lot of hoops to jump through to fire someone once they’re past the probationary period.

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

          THIS.
          Government workers are increasing, and their benefits and pay are way too good. And God forbid you should try to get rid of a useless worker and replace them with an effective and hard working individual – you will incur the wrath of the government workers unions, pretty much the only unions left that get what their way.

          • dangermike says:

            I second. It’s particularly bad in Los Angeles, with the DWP’s contractually obligated 6% annual raises for the last several years while the economy has floundered and rates and fees being steadily increased for the whole county. The city of LA pays window washers in the airport $50-55 thousand in salary alone. Add in the benefits including a state sponsored pension program that allows most workers to retire at 75-90% of base pay after 30 years, and it’s no wonder the whole state is about to go bankrupt. It’s kind of funny, when I was growing up and they said California would be underwater after the big one hit, I was thought the meant the ocean and an earthquake.

          • OnePumpChump says:

            “government workers unions, pretty much the only unions left that get what their way.”

            You would not believe this:

            “and their benefits and pay are way too good.”

            if any other unions still had teeth.

          • HogwartsProfessor says:

            I don’t have a problem with the compensation, it’s the difficulty letting them go for performance issues. I had a friend whose ex-partner worked for a city facility and a coworker of hers was an absolute lazy ass MONSTER. They could not get this woman fired to save their lives. She was not only incompetent; she was abusive. I think she finally quit but everyone was about to kill themselves before she did.

          • dismalscience says:

            Perspective on “government workers are increasing”: from 2008 to 2009 (most recent data we have, since 2010 isn’t over just yet), state and local government employment decreased.

            http://www.bea.gov/industry/gpotables/gpo_action.cfm?anon=720748&table_id=26790&format_type=0

            Federal employment increased slightly (by about 0.6%), but half the increase was in the military, and more than half the non-military Federal employment was more War on Terror stuff: increases in Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, and Justice.

            http://www.opm.gov/feddata/HistoricalTables/ExecutiveBranchSince1940.asp

            So, to be clear, if you’re complaining about anything, you’re complaining about an increase in Federal employment that was primarily in response to threats to our country (real or perceived, your call), and was less than the rate of population increase (which from ’08 to ’09 was almost 1.0%).

  11. dulcinea47 says:

    Haven’t had a raise of any sort in almost three years, and surely won’t get one this year either. Threats of furloughs! Cost of everything keeps going up. Ugh.

  12. ARP says:

    Well, the rich have been making fantastic money, even during the economic downturn. Why hasn’t it trickled down to us? Maybe if we cut taxes for the rich even more, we might get a 2% raise. I mean it worked great in the 80’s and early 00’s…. wait.

  13. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    I’ve taken on the jobs of two people who were let go and received a 3% raise for doing so after a year. So, I have seen a pay raise, I have also seen a three-fold increase in my workload.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      This reminds me of the governor of New York about 15 years ago, bragging about how he “created X number of jobs”.

      Yea, I know. I’m working two of those jobs, you bastard.

  14. CWG85338 says:

    Eventually, the gap between the haves and have-nots should reach critical mass, when the number of have-nots will be too big to ignore. Then it’s either open revolt or total submission. If we collectively act now, and beat up our elected officials to stop the abuses, it may not have to come to a head.

    • EverCynicalTHX says:

      Many of those “haves” busted ass for it to get to where they are. Others took the easy route and settled.

      Here an idea for you, how about you work really hard and become a “have” instead of a “have not”.

      It could mean 60 hours work weeks…or going back to school..or taking some risks. I’m willing to bet most of those haves did all 3.

      ..for disclosure, I’m not a “have”, I live in a 100k home which is NOT under foreclosure since I bought within my means. I’ve worked since I was 17 and somehow managed to keep my technical skills up to date so I’ve never been unemployed.

      I am getting screwed though, but it’s NOT from the “haves” – it’s from the government taking every increasing amounts of my meager paycheck to give to the “have nots”.

      • dragonfire81 says:

        Show me where the jobs are that a person can get that will allow them to work for 60 hour weeks. Minimum wage or not, they’re not out there. School/College is an option but not everyone can afford it or wants to be stuck under the burden of student loans. Some people just aren’t cut out for college and perhaps today more than ever, a college degree is NO easy ticket for a decent job.

        I agree that taking risks can be a key to becoming a “have” but when you are fighting to keep your bills paid, keep your kids look after and keep your job (if you are lucky enough to have one), there’s not a lot of wiggle room for risk taking.

        I’m trying to do as best as I can. I’m working two jobs, I’m keeping my bills paid, I’m even trying to start a side business but even coming up with the small amount of money I need to get it off the ground has been challenging.

        The overall point I’m making here is that I don’t feel there’s as much opportunity out there as you think there is.

        • LadyTL says:

          Of course there isn’t much opportunity anymore but if they admit that then they might just have to admit that alot of the other crap they spout is wrong too. A person in the US can work as hard as possible and still not get above the poverty line but there is a section of the US that refuses to believe that.

          • Bsamm09 says:

            You’re right. The days of getting your HS diploma and making a great living are over. People need skills that are in demand. Once you acquire those skills, acquire more. Read everything you can about your profession.

            When you hear American success stories, they never start with “I was born to a poor family and I accepted this and went on with my life and realized I was cursed into this existence”

            You hear, “I was born poor but I worked hard, I failed many times but I never gave up, I kept trying and finally I made it.”

            Some people are diagnosed with horrible diseases and accept it and wait for death. Others fight. They try everything they can to survive. they may die, but maybe others can build on their efforts and succeed.

            • AstroPig7 says:

              You’re falling prey to the just world fallacy. Hard work can produce great results, but there are other forces at work, and they can more than counteract your own efforts. I’m not suggesting that hard work should be forsaken, but I am saying that hard work is not the difference between the haves and the have-nots.

      • tsukiotoshi says:

        I do not advise going back to school unless its doing something you know for a fact is hiring a lot of people for excellent pay. I have three degrees, graduated with honors, and I cannot find a job. Or at least one where they are willing to pay me–I do get a lot of offers to work for free as an “intern.”

      • Whtthfgg says:

        Taxes have gone DOWN over the last ten years….what ya bitching about??

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

          Depends on what taxes you are talking about, and for who. Also, “FEES” have increased. But, fees aren’t taxes, are they? At least thats what politicians claim at re-election time.

        • evnmorlo says:

          Property and inflation taxes have doubled or tripled in the last 10 years. Unless you’re rich, in which case taxes are indeed lower.

      • Karita says:

        Wow. I busted my ass through 20 years of education, started working when I was 14, and worked full-time the entire time I was in college and grad school. I work a ridiculous amount now, at a job that should be considered prestigious. Somehow I’m a “have-not”, and I certainly don’t work any less hard than the “haves.” The American Dream is a joke, and once you start looking at the difference between who makes it and who doesn’t, you’ll start to realize that hard work generally doesn’t cut it.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        I am getting screwed though, but it’s NOT from the “haves” – it’s from the government taking every increasing amounts of my meager paycheck to give to the “have nots”.

        THIS, but also the government is not getting the “haves” fair share to support the “have nots”

        I work hard for a living – my wife too. We work opposite shifts because we can’t afford a sitter, so we don’t see each other for days at a time. We pay for everything ourselves, often times going without. Our cars are 11 and 18 years old, but we can’t afford replacements. It is discouraging to see all the lazy “have nots” get food, insurance, and housing assistance, and knowing it’s coming out of my pocket and yours. And because of the national debt, our children’s pockets, too!

        • Erik Hughes says:

          >it’s from the government taking every increasing amounts of my meager paycheck to give to the “have nots”.

          Umm, didn’t you just get a tax cut?

          • Bsamm09 says:

            are you referring to the prevention of tax raises? If I pay X amount this year and I pay the same amount next year, if my income stays the same, how is that a tax cut?

            • healthdog says:

              The Bush tax cuts were designed to last 10 years, and designed to expire on 1/1/11. If a tax cut expires, how can you consider that a tax increase? Likewise, if the tax cut is extended, how can you consider that anything except a tax cut?

      • cigsm says:

        The government is taking more of your paycheck each year? That’s strange because your taxes are LOWER this year than they were just last year. Hmmmm…. Turn of “Faux News”, as I’m SURE you’ve heard the reports that Faux News viewers are THE MOST uneducated on the facts.

      • OnePumpChump says:

        http://london.sonoma.edu/Writings/PeopleOfTheAbyss/

        It’s an extreme example, but a lot of it rings true regardless.

    • OnePumpChump says:

      Serfdom didn’t end until the black death reduced the numbers of serfs and made them too valuable to treat like shit.

  15. areaman says:

    Almost everyone at our company got a good sized raise at the start of this year. Then the cost increase in insurance was absorbed by the company as well. So depending on how one keeps track, I got one or two raises this year.

    I’m writing so people don’t think it’s all doom and gloom this year. Also it helps me keep track of what’s going on (some people I work with don’t seem happy at all).

  16. pop top says:

    I get regular pay increases because I work for the government, but they’re taking away our 3% cost-of-living raise by making us pay 3% into a retirement fund of some kind…

    • Bsamm09 says:

      Oh no!!! The tragedy. I pay 20% into my retirement accounts. Won’t get a pension (never wanted one either)and am not relying on Social Security. I work in the private sector. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

      • pop top says:

        I don’t see the need for you to be an asshole. I was merely discussing the same thing everyone else was. I bet if I didn’t say that I worked for the government, you wouldn’t have picked on me at all. What an immense douche.

        • Bsamm09 says:

          I’m sorry for the douche-y reply. But don’t feel bad that gov’t jobs are forcing you to help shoulder the burden for pensions. The idea of voluntarily creating a mostly unfunded liability shows terrible foresight.

          I was attacking the idea and not you personally and I do apologize.

  17. dragonfire81 says:

    My pay has technically increased…but only due to the fact I took on a second job part time. My pay at my primary job is the same it’s been for quite awhile now.

  18. Buckus says:

    Since I’m so f’ing awesome…increased.

  19. greatgoogly says:

    It’s the coup of The United Corporations of America which want nothing more than to have us all working for Chinese wages, or even better bringing back the idea of the indentured servant. Don’t worry about our Corporate Overlords though, while our communities collapse and Firefighters, Police, and teachers are laid off they will be safe in their gated communities plotting new ways to destroy this country, all while saying “It’s the American Way”.

  20. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    THIS, in spite of THIS:

    “… Quarterly profits (reported at an annualized rate) rose from $1.18 trillion in the second quarter of 2009 to $1.42 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2009 and $1.64 trillion in the second quarter of 2010. In the second quarter of 2010, corporate profits were up 39.2 percent from the year-before quarter…”

    No raises for 3 years here, insurance up, cost of living up (despite the government’s imaginary numbers saying otherwise), vacation time slashed… Yet the president of the company had the kahunas to tell us all about his $6000 Rolex during his annual “pep talk” last year.

    • econobiker says:

      $6,000 Rolex mentioned at the pep talk. What a nice Dilbert moment. I always like out of touch executives.

      “Times are tough so we had to let go of one of the maids and have the nanny start shopping at Trader Joe’s in the maid’s place.”

  21. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    QUOTE:
    ” They get this result by estimating a “core inflation rate.” This core rate excludes product prices that are “volatile,” and by volatile they mean rising faster than other prices. Excluding the most inflationary prices from the CPI estimates allows the feds to conceal the true harm of inflation.

    The CPI is a government statistic, and since the government’s expansionary monetary policy creates the inflation, officials have an incentive to underestimate these numbers. Underreporting inflation helps government officials in at least three ways.

    First of all, it provides more favorable economic news. Elected officials want to report and take credit for any positive economic announcements.

    Second, if the government reports a rate of inflation that is lower than the actual inflation rate, this will increases tax revenues through bracket creep. If the actual inflation rate is 10%, but the measured rate of inflation is 4%, some taxpayers will be pushed into higher tax brackets even though their real income has not increased.

    And third, a lower reported inflation statistic reduces government spending by limiting the spending increases that are tied to inflation. The state can take credit for cost of living adjustments that are allegedly keeping up with inflation although in real terms the payments are falling.”

    http://mises.org/daily/2302

  22. Consumeristing says:

    Who do you think are going to give you high-paying jobs or jobs you like? We can’t all be employees.

  23. Mr Grey says:

    My pay has been cut roughly that exact amount via furlough days. While I don’t like it, I still have my job, and the outlook looks pretty good.

  24. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I got a dollar raise, but only because the dearly departed EvilBosses were terrified I’d follow my supervisor screaming out the door. Never occurred to them that the reason people were leaving wasn’t because of money, but because of THEM. Mind you, after two years of prices going up and up and up and no raise, I’m not complaining.

  25. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Three times the workload (taking over all the stuff from two people laid off). Insurance going up, deductible going up, coverage going down (projected costs for 2011 is an additional $2,000 for my meds), and no raise.

    I’d like to get a better job and move elsewhere, but I’m anchored to a house that will never sell for what I put into it. Car is slowly dying, too. Feels bad, man. How I haven’t put a bullet in my brain is beyond me.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I hear ya. My dryer is about to bite the big one too. There’s no way I can afford a new one. I could go to the laundromat, but if you have your own house, YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO.

  26. woogychuck says:

    I got a new job after a few months of unemployment. The new job pays 5% less and has greatly reduced benefits compared to my previous job. Overall, my total compensation is down just over 10% this year.

  27. dismalscience says:

    Not to be a party pooper, but the numbers don’t say that average wages decreased, they say that total economy-wide wages paid decreased because fewer people were employed.

    FTFA: “Total compensation of U.S. workers contracted 3.2 percent in 2009, as a decline in employment more than offset the increase in average annual compensation per job.”

    No doubt, there were pay cuts in some places, and pay raises in others, and the pay cuts may have dominated, and the increase in average annual compensation per job may be due to primarily low-wage workers being laid off… but it’s impossible to determine this using high-level aggregate data.

    Also, for Cheap Sniveler: if inflation rates are so severely understated, then why aren’t bond prices much lower than they are? The implied inflation rate from treasury yields, assuming zero risk and zero opportunity cost of capital (both absurd assumptions in your favor) is still about 2.7% annually over ten years. If you assume any risk of government default, any opportunity cost of capital, or any return to higher growth rates over the next ten years, then either the treasury markets (and, hell, the corporate bond markets, because the interest rate spread there is the same as always) are totally insane, or inflation is near zero. For that matter, why have alternative, private price indexes like the Google Price Index or the Billion Prices Project tracked the CPI so closely? Your conspiracy theory is at odds with all the other available information… maybe it’s wrong?

  28. bite back says:

    Decreased.

    Monthly stipends toward cost of individual insurance policies suspended; then insurance premiums went up 30% after the previous year’s increase of 20%;

    Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day paid holidays became unpaid furlough days;

    End of year of bonuses eliminated;

    No contributions to pension fund, again;

    No pay increase again;

    Number of paid time off days cut by 25%;

    Mileage reimbursement suspended;

    Layoffs threatened.

    Happy Holidays!

  29. Spook Man says:

    Stayed the same, but no raises in sight and a raise in medical and just about everything else..

    Gas, food, heating oil, electricity.. All, up-up-up because the economy is getting ooooo, so better..

  30. Preyfar says:

    One of my friends in Jersey worse for a steel producing company. He took a 20% paycut and loss of some benefits in the span of a year.

  31. goodcow says:

    Between my step raise and the 3% contract negotiation last year, my salary went up 13.8% this year. But of course unions are an evil thing, destroying the middle class, right?

  32. Kat@Work says:

    In 2008, we got a 5% pay cut, company wide (higher for execs).

    In 2009, they gave us the 5% back as a one time bonus.

    This December, they announced that in 2011, they’re reinstating everyone’s 5% that didn’t already receive a raise.

    Plus, I got a 3.6% raise on top of that.

    Also got a 15% bonus for the end of this year.

    Best year ever since I’ve started there. :)

  33. kmkazoo says:

    I was unemployed for 9 months this year, after our whole branch closed. Finally found a job. But I took a HUGE pay cut. I’m now making what I was making in 1999. No 401K match, high medical premiums. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to be employed again, but it sure is discouraging. I really have to wonder if I’ll ever be able to retire. I really doubt it.

  34. Mr Fife says:

    Your pay did not dip if you were a member of Congress.

  35. Willow16 says:

    Decreased. Six months of unemployment and now making less plus the new job is in the third year of a wage freeze with no hope of an increase.