The base salary level that American workers demand before accepting a new job rose to a new high
this year, due to persistent inflation. The New York Federal Reserve reported in its July
employment survey on Aug. 21 that the average “reservation wage,” or the minimum acceptable wage
that workers will take to switch jobs, rose to $78,645 in the second quarter of 2023. This is a
year-over-year increase of about 8 percent and is the largest spike on record going back to early
2014. Despite overall inflation falling to 3.2 percent last month from a high of 9.1 percent in
June 2022, households nationwide are still struggling with high prices and rising borrowing rates.
U.S. consumers are increasingly also turning to credit cards and remaining pandemic savings for
basic spending, due to high prices. Total credit card debt surpassed $1 trillion for the first time
this year, according to July data from the New York Fed. Now with increased wage demands, Americans
hope the pay bump will offset the rising pressure of
aggressive inflation.