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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Workers are changing jobs and getting raises, but they are still struggling financially

Donna Dunn, 49, works as an office manager at a healthcare clinic in Booker, Texas. Despite her pay raise, she struggles to pay her family’s bills as her prices have risen faster than her salary. Donna Dunn

Debby Perta claims she’s not a “job jumper”.

“I couldn’t do that in my day,” said Perta, 38, who worked at a bank in Illinois for nearly a decade. “Your resume left a bad impression.”

During the pandemic, Perta started thinking about making the leap. She did the best she could with her company. She had her family in Arizona and thought her teenage son would love it. She had also heard about the country’s hot job market, full of new opportunities for her.

Pelta soon got a job managing a bank branch in Phoenix, said “goodbye” to her colleagues and moved west.

“This was not the norm for me,” she said. “But that seems to be what people are doing now, isn’t it?”

Yes, that’s what a lot of people do, and 38% of Americans have changed jobs in the last few years. According to a new NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist pollMore than half of the changers were young workers, like Perta, Gen Z and millennials.

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Turnover rate at the end of 2021 reached the highest level ever seen in government records dating back to 2000and that rate remains at a historic high this year.

Economists have given the name “dynamism” to all the churn we see in the job market.

The Great Recession taught workers to maintain the status quo, but now they’re ‘very dynamic’

Dynamism can be defined as change, progress and restless entrepreneurship, said Heidi Schierholz, director of the Economic Policy Institute.

Since the Great Recession and the mass layoffs of 2008, workers have become more safety conscious, sticking to their jobs and staying put, says Schierholz.

“But now we’re very dynamic,” she said. “And that’s a good thing.”

If people are changing jobs, they are very likely to be in jobs that are better suited for them, which means the economy will run better, she said.

“It’s also very good for workers,” she said.

All dynamism has a dark side. Constant hiring and training, and picking up slack in understaffed jobs can be exhausting for both employers and workers.

Due to staffing shortages, Perta, a master’s degree holder with many years of experience and a manager title, spent most of her days as a bank teller. Also, her payment became an issue. To make ends meet in her new expensive city, Perta made her Doordash deliveries over the weekend.

So, just six months into one new job, Perta started looking for another new job. Soon she got it at a big financial institution with a raise. Now Perta is happier and more fulfilled and she gets more rewards.

Monitor Hot Pockets prices after pay raise

An NPR Marist poll found that 61% of US workers got a raise last year. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone’s financial situation has improved.

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Take Donna Dunn, 49, from Booker, Texas.

“We’re really in the middle of nowhere,” she said of her town, where she’s the office manager of a health care clinic.

Dunn’s cost of living is rising 3% each year, but the actual cost of living is rising much faster. Recent data show inflation at 8.3%, nearly triple that.

Economists call it the “money illusion” when people see prices rising faster while their own wages are rising. The salary may seem big, but it’s an illusion. A simple calculation shows that your salary is decreasing.

In fact, when adjusted for inflation, US workers got one of the biggest wage cuts on record in the past year.

This was no surprise to Dunn, who has five children, a tight budget, and an encyclopedic knowledge of food prices.

“I used to get 12 eggs for $2.69. Today the exact same 12 eggs were $4.89,” she said. A box of counts used to be $8.99, now it’s the exact same box, only 24, but $13.90.”

To cope with rising prices, Dan made the trade-offs: pork instead of beef, PB&Js instead of deli sandwiches, and no more eating out. Over the dollar, Donna was drowning. She reluctantly chooses which bills to pay or not to pay.

Her employer offered a raise to help with inflation, but the money wasn’t enough. More than one-third of those surveyed said their financial situation had worsened in the past year, and more people reported delays in submitting bills.

Dunn found some workarounds. In fact, she grows them in her garden and on her mother’s farm.

“I’m on the trade system with one of the other farmers,” she said. “She has chickens and she brings me eggs and I give her tomatoes and zucchini and cucumbers.”

How to avoid the money illusion? don’t spend money

Copyright 2022 NPR. For more information, please visit https://www.npr.org.

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Mary Louise Kelly, Host:

Have you ever heard of a big resignation or a big resignation? Well, some of those people quit for good. Others simply swapped jobs, which caused a lot of disruption to the economy.To find out how much, NPR teamed up with PBS NewsHour and Marist to survey workers across the country and We gave NPR her Stacey Vanek Smith the results.

STACEY VANEK SMITH, BYLINE: It’s been an action-packed few years for the job market. An NPR/Marist poll found that nearly 40% of workers have changed jobs in the last few years. That means millions of people are retiring and finding new jobs each month. Economists have a word about all this churn.

(Soundbite from archived recording)


VANEK SMITH: Dynamism. Heidi Shierholz is Director of the Economic Policy Institute. She says dynamism is rotation, change, progress, that restless entrepreneurial spirit. And she says it’s music to her ears.

SHIERHOLZ: Low dynamism was a theme in our recovery from the Great Recession.

VANEK SMITH: According to Mr. Shierholz, after the 2008 economic shock and mass layoffs, workers became timid, safety-oriented, clung to their jobs, and stayed put. and now?

SHIERHOLZ: We are very dynamic now. People change jobs all the time. And that’s good. When people change jobs, they are very likely to get a job that suits them better. The economy will get better. It’s also very good for workers.

VANEK SMITH: Workers like Debby Perta in Arizona – She’s 38 and has worked in banks for almost 10 years. But she was doing the best she could with the company. So she left, which was hard.

DEBBY PERTA: It was very difficult. The final day was full of tears.

VANEK SMITH: Debbie found a new job as a bank manager. It was a big breakthrough in many ways.

Did you get a raise when you changed jobs?

PERTA: When I changed jobs, I didn’t really get a raise. I actually stayed the same.

VANEK SMITH: But Debby, along with millions of working Americans, was excited about her new start. Our polls show that most people change jobs for more money or, like Debbie, for better opportunities.

Of course, our newfound dynamism has a dark side. For workers and employers, constant hiring and training and picking up slack in understaffed jobs can be exhausting. Actually, that’s what happened to Debbie. She was hired as a branch manager, but due to her understaffing, she spent most of her days as her teller.

PERTA: So I’m always distracted. My full-time teller, if she hangs up, forget it. Then it’s really SOL (laughs). I graduated with a master’s degree. I am experienced. And I’m not using my potential.

VANEK SMITH: Payment was also an issue. Prices were going up. And to make ends meet, Debby had to start delivering her DoorDash on weekends. Just six months into her new job, Debbie started looking for a new new job. And soon she got it.

PERTA: I am directing – we currently have 15 employees. I work with hybrids.

VANEK SMITH: Did you get a raise?

PERTA: I got a raise, so that’s good.

VANEK SMITH: Debbie is happy. She finds it rewarding. She gets paid more. Economist Heidi Thielholz says this is economic dynamism at its best. yet…

SHIERHOLZ: I feel like I’m holding my breath a little.

VANEK SMITH: Shierholz said that all this dynamism could be dissolved when the economy deteriorates. Employers may stop hiring and employees may prioritize safety over promotion and entrepreneurship. Debby Perta says she believes there has been a mental shift in workers.

PERTA: I’ve been with the company for about eight and a half years and have had two jobs in the last 12 months. In my day it was not the norm. you don’t change jobs It was bad on my resume, but not now. Now, when you see social media like TikTok, don’t be ashamed of your job hop. know your worth And if you find something better, it’s okay to move on, right?

VANEK SMITH: For the record, Debby has no plans to move on. At least for now, she’s happy wherever she is.

Stacey Vanek Smith, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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