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US workers seeking record wages to consider new jobs, New York Fed says

FILE PHOTO: Residental home building in California

By Michael S. Derby

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The lowest wage Americans said they were willing to accept to take a new job reached a record high in March, new data from the New York Federal Reserve showed on Monday.

The so-called average reservation wage was $81,822 as of March, up substantially from the $73,391 seen in the last report in November of 2023, the regional Fed bank said, drawing on data compiled from in its regular Survey of Consumer Expectations. The New York Fed said that rise was driven by men, respondents over the age of 45, and those without college degrees.

The report also found declining satisfaction with wage and non-wage compensation in March, while satisfaction with promotion opportunities held steady.

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New York Fed data tracking reservation wage demands has shown a solid uptrend amid ongoing inflation pressures and labor market tightness. While inflation has been waning, price pressures remain robust and are driving workers to seek higher wages, while a strong need for workers has given employees more power to get their wage demands met.

Despite the higher wages being sought by workers, the New York Fed found that employers were offering lower starting wages, with the average offer at $73,668 in March compared to $79,160 last November.

(Reporting by Michael S. Derby; Editing by Paul Simao)