Nearly two-thirds of the lowest earners failed to make more money

News Release, Bankrate.com

NEW YORK – Half of U.S. workers did not see a salary increase in the last year, according to a new Bankrate.com report. Meanwhile, 28% received a pay raise, 12% got a better paying job and 10% got both a raise and a better paying job. Overall, 49% enjoyed a pay increase in some form, up from 38% last year, and the best since 2016.

Those with lower income and education levels were less likely to see a salary increase in the past year. While 56% of college graduates made more money over the past 12 months, just 45% of those without a college degree can say the same. More than half (55%) of those making $50,000 or more annually saw their pay increase compared to 43% who make less than that. In fact, nearly two-thirds (64%) of the lowest earners (under $30,000) saw no positive change in their income over the past 12 months.

“Low unemployment and a tight labor market with more than 1 million open, unfilled jobs is benefitting workers, with more reporting pay raise and finding better-paying jobs than each of the last three years,” said Bankrate.com chief financial analyst Greg McBride, CFA.

“The ability to earn more money can be a much-needed boost to the finances of many Americans if properly deployed. Padding emergency savings, increasing retirement contributions and paying down debt are all prudent moves to make with the additional money in the paycheck.”

Despite seeing fewer wage gains than higher-paid workers, the lowest earners are just as likely as the highest earners ($75,000+ annually) to have increased confidence in the job market over the last year (33%). Groups showing higher confidence in the job market compared to 12 months ago include Republicans (49% vs. 26% of Independents and 19% of Democrats) and men (39% vs. 20% of women).

Overall, 30% of American workers have increased confidence in the job market over the past 12 months, 12% have decreased confidence and 58% say their confidence is the same.

Only 1 in 4 (26%) workers intend to look for a job in the next 12 months. Millennials (ages 23- 38, 33%), the lowest-income households (37%) and those with no more than a high school diploma (33%) are most likely to look for a new job over the next year.

Methodology: This study was conducted for Bankrate via telephone by SSRS on its Omnibus survey platform. The SSRS Omnibus is a national, weekly, dual-frame bilingual telephone survey. Interviews were conducted from November 25 – December 1, 2019, among a sample of 1,000 respondents, including 591 employed adults, in English (965) and Spanish (35). Telephone interviews were conducted by landline (305) and cell phone (695, including 446 without a landline phone). The margin of error for total respondents is +/-3.60% at the 95% confidence level and the margin of error for employed respondents is +/- 4.58% at the 95% confidence level. All SSRS Omnibus data are weighted to represent the target population.


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...