SACRAMENTO, CA - When was the last time you got a pay raise? That's a question a lot of workers are asking these days, but are afraid to bring up with their bosses for fear of losing their jobs.
Something that grabbed headlines recently was the latest jobs report, which once again, did not meet expectations. But something that you may have not noticed in the report was that average hourly wages in August dropped a penny.
It's not a monumental amount, but it highlights a separate issue: Pay raises, or the lack thereof.
Persistent unemployment figures are deemed as one reason behind the recent lack of pay raises. CNN Money spoke with an economist who said if your employer knows you don't have a lot of options with other jobs, there's no incentive to give you a raise.
He went on to say that it shifts bargaining power away from workers and toward employers.
If you have received a pay raise recently, it may not have been enough of a raise to adjust for inflation. In the private sector over the past year, wages rose just 1.2 percent, a figure that fails to even match the rate of inflation.
According to CNN Money, another reason for sluggish pay increases is that most of the recent job growth has been in low-wage industries. High unemployment forces a lot of workers to take jobs they normally wouldn't. Many of the jobs created since the recession officially ended in 2009 have been in lower-paid industries such as retail or food service.
Without regular pay raises, workers are less likely to spend more, which in turn slows any kind of economic recovery.