Press Release

Labor Market Survey Shows a Slight Increase in Transitions into Unemployment; Average Expected Wage Offer Continues to Rise

September 23, 2019

NEW YORK – The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data today released the July 2019 SCE Labor Market Survey, which shows a rise in employer-to-employer transitions as well as transitions into unemployment, compared to a year ago. Satisfaction with promotion opportunities and wage compensation were largely unchanged, while satisfaction with non-wage benefits retreated. Regarding expectations, the average expected wage offer (conditional on receiving one) and the average reservation wage—the lowest wage at which respondents would be willing to accept a new job—both increased year-over-year. Expectations regarding job transitions were largely stable.

The New York Fed also issued an accompanying blog post that takes a closer look at the nature of labor market transitions by respondents’ observable characteristics.

Experiences

  • Among those who were employed four months ago, 93.3% were still employed, compared to 96.8% last July. This decline was due to an uptick in transitions into unemployment, which was most notable for lower-educated (without college degree) respondents and those with household incomes less than $60,000. Employer-to-employer transitions, on the other hand, rose from 4.7% in July 2018, to 6.2% in July 2019.
  • The proportion of individuals who reported searching for a job in the past four weeks ticked up from 22.4% in July 2018, to 24.5% in July 2019. The series has been on the rise since July 2018.
  • 21.0% of individuals reported receiving at least one job offer in the past four months, slightly up from 18.8% in July 2018. The series followed an increasing trend since March 2018. The average full-time offer wage received in the past four months also slightly increased from $52,590 in July 2018 to $54,943.
  • Satisfaction with wage compensation and with promotion opportunities at respondents’ current jobs remained essentially constant at 58.4% and 48.9%, respectively. Satisfaction with nonwage benefits, on the other hand, declined: 64.2% of employed respondents reported being satisfied with nonwage benefits at their current jobs, down from 67.6% in July 2018. The decline was broad-based across all demographic groups.

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 same employer declining from 85.7% in July 2018 to 85.3%. There was a slight uptick in the average expected likelihood of moving to a new employer from 10.3% in July 2018 to 11.4%. This increase was most notable for younger (under age 45), lower income (with less than $60,000 of household income), and female workers.
  • The average expected likelihood of receiving at least one job offer in the next four months edged up from 22.8% in July 2018 to 24.1% in July 2019.
  • Conditional on expecting an offer, the average expected annual salary of job offers in the next four months increased from $52,905 in July 2018 to $54,203. The increase was most notable for younger and higher income respondents.
  • The average reservation wage—the lowest wage respondents would be willing to accept for a new job—continued its rise from $57,964 in July 2017 and $60,196 in July 2018 to $62,194 in July 2019. The increase was most pronounced for younger and higher income respondents. The average reservation wage for male respondents, on the other hand, declined from $72,906 in July 2018 to $70,026.
  • The average expected likelihood of working beyond age 62 edged up from 52.0% in July 2018 to 52.7%, staying close to its lowest reading of 51.1% recorded in March 2018. The average expected likelihood of working beyond age 67 also increased from 33.0% in July 2018 to 35.3%.

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) since March 2014, provides information on consumers' experiences and expectations regarding the labor market. Every four months, approximately 1,000 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
Desmond Lee
(212) 720-2416
desmond.lee@ny.frb.org