By S.E. Slack
Are you making more money than you were five years ago? A recent Gallup poll states most people – particularly younger workers – are pulling in bigger dollars than in September 2008, when the United States experienced on of the greatest financial crises in its history. Older workers, on the other hand, have typically seen their earnings stagnate or decline over the past five years.
The increase in pay “may largely be a function of youth,” according to Andrew Dugan of Gallup. Younger workers, he said, settle into new careers and the rising salaries that come along with the early years of a new job.
Gallup research also shows that the recession has had more damaging effects on older Americans. Dugan said that’s because they may face a more difficult time re-entering the labor market after being laid off. Delays in reentry at least somewhat contribute to why older workers are less likely to have seen their earnings go up, he said.
Still, a staggering 96 percent of U.S. metro areas have experienced at least some increase in average annual wages over the first several years of the recovery. That number should be viewed cautiously, however. Vigorous wage improvements in Cleveland and Phoenix seem to show that parts of the Rustbelt and Sunbelt are beginning to turn around, for example, but other parts of those key areas aren’t showing the same upward trajectory. That could be related to the age of workers in those areas or the lack of new job growth.
Gains aren’t necessarily in big dollars, according to Gallup. Some cities like the Safest Large City in the United States, showed very small gains in income (between $1,000 and $2,000 annually) but still qualified as sporting an upward trend. Other large cities, such as Chicago, showed the lowest average increase in wages and salaries, but still inched upward by $830 between 2009 and 2012.