Press Release

Individuals’ Labor Market Experiences Improve

December 18, 2017

NEW YORK – The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data today released the November 2017 SCE Labor Market Survey which shows an increase in the rate at which workers transition to a different employer and an increase in average full-time wage offers. Satisfaction with promotion opportunities at one’s current job also edged up. Turning to expectations, job transition expectations of those currently employed were unchanged. Expectations about receiving job offers and the average expected wage offer (conditional on receiving one) remained essentially flat. The average reservation wage—the lowest wage at which respondents would be willing to accept a new job—is still at its lowest level since March 2015.

Experiences

  • Among those who were employed four months ago, 89.5% were still with the same employer, similar to the proportion of 89.8% in the July survey. The rate of transitioning to a different employer jumped up from 3.8% in July to 5.2% in November, the highest level since November 2016.
  • The proportion of individuals who reported searching for a job in the past four weeks declined from 22.7% in July to 21.8%, still above the average proportion in 2016. The decline was primarily driven by younger (those age 45 or less), college-educated, and male household heads.
  • 19.4% of the individuals reported receiving at least one job offer in the past four months, up from 17.2% in July. The distribution of the number of offers became slightly more dispersed, with the proportion of individuals receiving one job offer increasing from 8.9% in July to 11.1% and the proportion of individuals receiving three or more job offer increasing from 3.1% in July to 3.8%. The average full-time offer wage received in the past four months increased from $49,250 in July to $59,110 in November.
  • Satisfaction reported by respondents with nonwage benefits at their current jobs remained flat: 67.1% of the employed respondents reported being satisfied with the nonwage benefits at their jobs. Satisfaction reported by respondents with wage compensation at their current jobs declined slightly from 60.0% in July to 59.9%.
  • On the other hand, satisfaction reported by respondents with promotion opportunities at their current jobs edged up from 44.3% in July to 47.2%. The increase was most notable for lower-educated workers (those without a college degree).

Expectations

  • Expectations regarding job transitions over the next four months among those currently employed were largely unchanged, with the average expected likelihood of remaining with the current employer at 86.1% (slightly up from 85.6% in July).
  • The average expected likelihood of receiving at least one job offer in the next four months remained flat at 22.0%. The distribution of the number of expected offers shifted to the left with the proportion of individuals expecting to receive one offer increasing from 15.5% in July to 19.0% and the proportion of individuals expecting to receive two or more offers declining from 22.7% in July to 17.4%.
  • Among respondents who reported a likelihood of receiving at least one offer in the next four months, the average expected annual salary of job offers declined from $50,790 in July to $49,855. This was the lowest level since November 2014 and the decline was broad-based across demographic groups.
  • The average reservation wage—the lowest wage respondents would be willing to accept for a new job—declined from $57,960 in July to $56,860, its lowest level since March 2015. This series had been trending upwards during 2015 and 2016, but has declined since November 2016. The drop was most pronounced for older (those older than 45 years) and male respondents.
  • The average expected likelihood of working beyond age 62 declined from 52.3% in July to 51.1%, its lowest reading since the series’ start in March 2014. The average expected likelihood of working beyond age 67 also moved down slightly from 33.5% in July to 33.3%, and remains below the 2016 average of 36.8%.

Detailed results are available here.

About the SCE Labor Market Survey

The SCE Labor Market Survey, fielded as part of the Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE), provides information on consumers' experiences and expectations regarding the labor market. Every four months, SCE panelists are asked details about their current (or most recent) job. Respondents are asked about job transitions, and about their job search effort and outcomes (number of job offers and offer wages), over the last four months. The currently employed are also asked about their level of satisfaction with wages, non-wage benefits, and their prospects for advancement at their current job. In addition, the survey elicits respondents’ expectations about job transitions over the next four months. Respondents are asked about the likelihood of receiving at least one job offer over the next four months, the expected number of offers, and the expected wages for these offers. The survey also elicits the respondents’ “reservation wage” and retirement expectations.  

More information about the SCE survey goals, design, and content can be found on the webpage for the Center for Microeconomic Data.

Contact
Betsy Bourassa
(212) 720-6885
betsy.bourassa@ny.frb.org