Raises could be less than expected, employment council reports

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If your plans for a big-screen, high definition television set are based on getting that big raise, you may want to delay the purchase until you find out how much extra money shows up on your paycheck.

A study by the Mountain States Employment Council, based on surveys and interviews with employers in greater metro Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and other areas in southern and northern Colorado, said workers may get raises of 3.7 percent, which is lower than earlier projections of 4.5 percent.

The mining industry reported the lowest increases at 2.9 percent, while the financial and real estate industry reported it planned raises of 4.5 percent. Government employees should expect 3.9 percent raises; retail employees may get raises averaging 3.6 percent.

Broken down by geographic region, hourly workers in Colorado Springs would get 3.6 percent, and those in Pueblo would get 3.2 percent.

The survey included 72 local employers and was undertaken in August and September. The survey director, Patty Goodwin, said the increases are the lowest in the 24 years since the survey began.

Lest one believe this is just another report in a sea of white paper reports, consider the MSEC’s track record in previous studies. For Colorado Springs salaries, it was never more than .6 percent off.

Flat sales appear to be the reason most companies are not willing to ante up more bodacious increases. Obviously, companies will protect their bottom line in lean times; and even in good times, they will hold back on raises to compensate for those leaner days.

“Employers are being cautious in light of current and predicted economic conditions, MSEC President Michael Severns said.

“Wage projections are definitely reflective of the overall economy,” Severn’s added.

Regionally, Boulder/Longmont workers will get the largest raises, at four percent. The lowest is Pueblo and the Western Slope, where raises should average 3.1 percent. Projections for the Pikes Peak region are the same as projections for the entire state for next year.

Mountain States Employers Council has 2,500 member employers, with offices in Colorado Springs and Denver. It offers services in all areas of employment lay, human resources, and management development and surveys.