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New labor data shows wages increasing, but slower than inflation

Posted at 5:56 PM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 21:02:05-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Recently released labor statistics show American workers are making more money — but with the skyrocketing prices of everything from gas to groceries, even with those higher wages, workers are taking home less money.

“If inflation wasn’t a concern of yours this past year and a half, it should have been," said Tom Craner, a wealth management adviser with Strategic Planning Group in Bountiful. "And if it’s still not, it should become one."

Craner says historically speaking, these periods of high inflation don’t last longer than a couple of years, depending on policies set by the current administration. He said if he were to have to guess, we’re about halfway through.

Craner spoke with FOX 13 News about the new labor statistics reported Friday, which show wages for American workers went up the highest they’ve been in 20 years at 4.5% over the past 12 months. But something called real compensation, which is adjusted for inflation, fell 3.7% for all workers.

“Well, you know, this is just what happens, a natural consequence when you have 2+ years of national economic shutdown and overstimulus,” Craner said, adding it’s important right now to structure your investments to help beat inflation long term.

Coming out of the pandemic era, employers are having to pay higher starting salaries and workers can negotiate more, but to compete with inflation, Craner says now may be the time to do a little extra saving, spend less and take a look at your long-term investments.

The Commerce Department released new numbers recently, showing consumer spending went up last month by more than 1 percent, despite a three-month contraction of the economy.

“Bottom line is that remember: This will pass, but also do a little extra savings, do the right type of investments to beat inflation, and you’re going to have to tighten your belt just a little bit in the interim,"
Craner said.