Press Release

Labor Market Survey Shows Improvement in Expectations; Average Reservation Wage Increases Compared to a Year Ago

September 07, 2021

NEW YORK – The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Center for Microeconomic Data today released the July 2021 SCE Labor Market Survey, which shows a decline in transitions into unemployment and an increase in employer-to-employer transitions, compared to a year ago. Regarding expectations, both the average expected likelihood of receiving an offer in the next four months and the average expected wage offer (conditional on receiving one) increased. The average reservation wage—the lowest wage at which respondents would be willing to accept a new job—increased year-over-year. Expectations regarding job transitions displayed a broad-based improvement.

Experiences

  • Among those who were employed four months ago, 91.8% were still employed in July 2021, compared to 84.5% last July. This increase was due to a decline in transitions into unemployment to 0.4% from 10.5% in July 2020. The decline in transitions into unemployment was broad-based across age, education, and income groups. Employer-to-employer transitions, on the other hand, increased to 5.9% from 4.4% in July 2020. This increase was most pronounced for those with household incomes less than $60,000.
  • The proportion of individuals who reported searching for a job in the past four weeks increased to 24.0% from 19.6% in July 2020. The increase was primarily driven by respondents without a college degree and those with household incomes less than $60,000.
  • 18.7% of individuals reported receiving at least one job offer in the past four months, up from 13.5% in July 2020. The series remained below pre-Covid-19 levels. However, the average full-time offer wage received in the past four months declined to $58,469 from $62,911 in July 2020.
  • Satisfaction with wage compensation, nonwage benefits, and promotion opportunities at respondents' current jobs all slightly declined from July 2020 values, retreating to 58.2%, 62.6%, and 46.5%, respectively.

Expectations

  • Expectations regarding job transitions over the next four months among those currently employed slightly improved, with the average expected likelihood of moving into unemployment declining to 2.5% in July 2021, from 3.7% in July 2020, and the average expected likelihood of moving to a new employer increasing to 10.3%, from 8.6% in July 2020.
  • The average expected likelihood of receiving at least one job offer in the next four months increased to 21.6% from 18.5% in July 2020, remaining below pre-Covid levels.
  • Conditional on expecting an offer, the average expected annual salary of job offers in the next four months increased to $57,207 from $54,646 in July 2020.
  • The average reservation wage—the lowest wage respondents would be willing to accept for a new job—increased sharply to $68,954 in July 2021, from $64,226 in July 2020. The series recorded its highest reading of $71,403 in March 2021, and then slightly retreated in July 2021. The year-over-year increase was most pronounced for older (those above age 45) respondents and those without a college degree. The average reservation wage for respondents with household incomes less than $60,000, on the other hand, declined compared to a year ago.
  • The average expected likelihood of working beyond age 62 ticked down to 50.1%, from 51.9% in July 2020, the lowest reading since the start of the series in March 2014. The average expected likelihood of working beyond age 67 also declined to 32.4% from 34.1% in July 2020.

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. Those 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
Mariah Measey
(347) 978 3071
Mariah.Measey@ny.frb.org 

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