Early Forecast: 2018 U.S. Salary Budget Increase Pegged at 3.2%

In the U.S., salary increase budgets are expected to grow by 3.2 percent in 2018, up from a 3.1 percent increase in 2017 and 3.0 percent in 2016, according to a May forecast.

Salary budgets represent funds that employers are planning to spend on employee compensation but do not necessarily represent the average salary or wage increase that workers will receive.

The 2018 pay projections were reported in Planning Global Compensation Budgets for 2018 by ERI Economic Research Institute, a compensation analytics firm in Irvine, Calif. The firm's projections are based on data from over 20,000 companies and analysis of government statistics, such as the following:

  • Gross domestic product in the U.S. is expected to increase by 2.5 percent next year, up from 2.3 percent in 2017 and 1.6 percent in 2016—an improvement but below the Trump administration's goal of 3 percent growth for the economy
  • Inflation is forecast to slow to 2.4 percent, down from 2.7 percent this year but higher than the 1.3 percent reported for 2016.
  • The unemployment rate is predicted to fall slightly to 4.6 percent, down from 4.7 percent this year and 4.9 percent in 2016. 
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