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Wage Growth Stagnant at SMBs

Posted on 6.02.2016

A majority of small and medium-sized businesses believe wages will be stagnant over the short-term according to results from a recent Express Employment Profressionals study. 

Respondents were asked whether they expect wages in their respective markets to increase, decrease or stay the same over the next three months. The majority predict short-term wage stagnation: 61 percent expect wages to stay the same, but more than a third or 38 percent expect an increase. Only two percent expect wages to decrease.


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When asked about the current employment environment in their market, 68 percent of companies surveyed responded that it was “trending up,” compared to 32 percent who said it was “trending down.” Businesses were also asked if they foresee a recession in the near future. Overwhelmingly, 94 percent of businesses surveyed don’t foresee a nationwide recession in the next three months.

Eighty percent of businesses surveyed don’t foresee a recession in three to six months, while 69 percent don’t foresee a recession in six months to a year. Seventy percent indicated no recession in a year. Additionally, 65 percent of business owners don’t expect a recession in two years, however, 35 percent anticipate a recession in two years.

“These survey results are a mixed bag. Many companies are cautiously optimistic but still have some hesitation about the strength of the economy in the near future,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express and former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

“It’s good news for employees that wages are not declining, but we would rather see them rising than flat-lining. The tight labor market continues to put pressure on the need for wage increases but employers are reluctant to increase pay given the uncertainties about the strength of the economy," Funk said.

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