Triangle families say wages aren't keeping up with rising inflation

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Thursday, November 3, 2022
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Alexandra Hill and Nia Williamson are both looking for jobs, but the two explained the process to get one is a little different in this economy.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Alexandra Hill and Nia Williamson are both looking for jobs, but the two explained the process to get one is a little different in this economy. "Certain jobs aren't paying enough and like the minimum wage is kind of affecting our reality of being able to feed ourselves or feed other people if we need to," shared Williamson.

Hill and Williamson were enjoying an evening at Moore Square Park Wednesday night. The two said they're making sure the pay of their new job is on par with current rate of inflation, but so far, they're coming up short. Hill described a part of his search.

"I go on Indeed a lot . If I noticed that is like, between $15 and $20 per hour, I kind of then check more about the job and see if it's something I'm interested in doing. Versus like, if it's above $20, then I don't really care what the job is about, because then I'll do it because it's paying more," she said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' quarterly Employment Cost Index, wages and salaries for civilian workers increased 5.1% over the last year, but not on track with inflation that's just over 8%. "We're losing ground," said Connel Fullenkamp, Economics Professor at Duke University.

"When inflation is higher than the rate of our wages, we lose ground, our standard of living goes down because our dollars just don't stretch as far and we have to give up things," continued Fullenkamp.

SEE ALSO: Inflation, economy top issues for some voters heading to the poll for Midterm Election 2022

He said it's only so much your employer can do to raise wages before it hurts their bottom line. "They're going to have to pass those prices on if they can, if they can't, their costs go up, then sometimes the producers actually start to really suffer and can't continue in production or can't continue in business. So, they're going to have to pass along some of their increased costs," Fullenkamp explained.

Talent Acquisition Consultant Keirsten Greggs said employers understand that things are costing their employees more and companies are now looking for other ways to accommodate rising prices.

"They are companies that are going above and beyond and offering additional medical assistance, because medical costs are going up as well, offering things like gas cards and gift cards for food, for grocery stores, and gym memberships," Greggs explained.

Employers aren't the only ones looking to supplement costs. Their employees are now turning to side jobs to keep up.

"Just working one job might not be ideal or might not be enough. So, I'm still trying to figure it out. But I do have a couple of friends who are doing personal trainers, digital things, and video editing," said Christopher Ferrill. He recently started a new job and is getting a clear picture of how far his dollar will go.

A recent poll of middle-income American families found 75% of people surveyed said their income is falling behind the cost of living.