Younger workers' wages growing faster than any age group

Among age groups, the youngest American workers are experiencing the largest wage gains as employers compete to fill staffing gaps in a tight labor market, The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 28.

Workers ages 16 to 24 saw a 10.6 percent increase in median hourly wages in January 2022 compared to January 2021, according to Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank data cited by the newspaper.

This compares to 4.2 percent for workers ages 25 to 54 and 2.5 percent for workers 55 and older. For all workers, the overall year-over-year gain was 4 percent, according to the reserve bank data.

One contributing factor to large wage growth among younger workers is employers who are seeking to fill traditionally low-wage, low-skilled jobs, particularly service jobs in places like restaurants and retail stores, according to The Wall Street Journal.  

Across all industries, 24 percent of U.S. private-sector businesses increased wages and salaries, paid wage premiums or paid bonuses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Feb. 18 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. This includes about 35 percent of healthcare and social assistance establishments.

In addition to wages, employers also have offered college tuition assistance, signing bonuses or other incentives to attract workers, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Read the full report here

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