What’s Holding Back U.S. Wage Growth?

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Beliakina Ekaterina / Shutterstock.com

Do you feel like stagnant wages are preventing you from getting ahead? You’re not alone.

According to MoneyWatch, despite a low unemployment rate and businesses fighting to attract qualified workers — which are typical precursors to wage gains in the U.S. — regular American workers have actually seen their “real,” inflation-adjusted wages drop.

Meanwhile, American workers’ nominal wages — which are unadjusted for inflation — have remained “low and flat” since the recovery from the Great Recession officially began in mid-2009, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit think tank.

So, what’s needed to reverse this trend and increase America’s wage growth rate, which dropped to 3.2 percent in February from 3.9 percent in November? MoneyWatch says:

According to research from the Cleveland Fed, what’s needed is a boost to recently sluggish labor productivity, which in turn will require stepped-up corporate investment spurred by things like entrepreneurship, new business formation and increased market competition.

Ways to cope with low wages

One of the most effective ways for you to boost your career earning potential is for you to earn a college degree. But even the bottom half of today’s college graduates earn less today than in 2000.

Are you just barely squeaking out a living with a minimum wage-paying job? Getting out of debt can be one of the best ways to get a little financial breathing room. As we have written:

Think about it this way: If you had no house payment, no car payment and no credit card payment, what’s left? The only monthly expenses you might need to cover would be utilities, insurance, gasoline and food. In many areas of the country, you could do that on $15,000 a year.

For more such tips on making your hard-earned cash stretch further, check out “10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum Wage.”

Searching for the right job — in the right city — also can boost your fortunes. For more insights, check out:

Have you experienced sluggish wage growth in recent years? Share your concerns below or on Facebook.

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.