Job seekers are being offered $9,000 more than a year ago, but workers are feeling more insecure

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How much money are you worth? 

Employees still have the upper hand in the labor market, with job candidates being offered more money than last year. The average full-time offer over the past four months was for $69,475 a year, up $9,000 from an average annual salary of $60,764 one year ago, according to the Survey of Consumer Expectations released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Monday. Some 19.5% of job seekers reported receiving at least one job offer over the past four months, down from 21.1% a year ago. 

Job seekers are also expecting higher salaries than a year ago — about $7,000 more per year. Across all age groups and education levels, job seekers in July said they expect an annual salary over the next four months of $67,416, the highest level since the series began in 2014 and up from $60,310 a year ago. Workers older than 45 and college graduates expected a bigger increase in the salaries offered to them than did other workers.

The average “reservation wage” — the lowest wage that respondents would be willing to accept for a new job — reached $78,645, the highest reading since the series began, up from $72,873 in July 2022. This annual increase was most pronounced for respondents older than 45, the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations’ Labor Market Survey found.

A tougher job market for younger workers

Despite the higher salary expectations, more workers are feeling insecure about their jobs than a year ago, fewer people are looking for new jobs and more people are concerned about becoming unemployed. The share of individuals who reported searching for a job over the past four weeks ticked down to 19.4% in July from 24.7% a year ago. Workers under 45, job seekers without a college degree and those earning less than $60,000 a year in their household led that decline. 

Those younger and lower-paid workers also expressed more concerns about becoming unemployed in the next four months. For workers under 45, 5.5% expected to become unemployed, compared with 2.3% a year ago. For all workers, the average expected likelihood of becoming unemployed increased to 3.9% from 2.3% a year ago and also reached the highest level since March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. added 187,000 jobs in July and hiring began to slow, according to government data released earlier this month. Although economists said it’s still a strong job market, with employers struggling to find workers, entry-level hiring declined across industries. The U.S. unemployment rate, meanwhile, fell slightly to 3.5% in July from 3.6% in June, according to the latest government data. 

Read: ‘Most jobs are vehicles and not destinations:’ Entry-level hiring slows, but these jobs are on the rise for new graduates.

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