Workers are changing jobs and getting salary but many are struggling financially: NPR


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

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

donna dunno

Debbie Perta insists she’s not a “job jumper.”

“You couldn’t do that in my day,” said Perta, 38, who worked for a bank in Illinois for nearly a decade. “It looked bad on your resume.”

During the pandemic, Perta started thinking about making the leap. She went as far as she could in her company. She had family in Arizona and thought her teenage son would love it there. At the same time, she was also hearing about the country’s hot job market full of new opportunities.

Perta gets a job managing a bank branch in Phoenix, says “goodbye” to his coworkers and moves west.

“It wasn’t ideal for me,” she said. “But that sounds like what people are doing now, isn’t it?”

Yes, that’s what a lot of people are doing, 38% of Americans have changed jobs in the past few years, According to a new NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist survey, More than half the change-makers were young activists – Gen Z and Millennials, like Perta.

At the end of 2021, the rate of people leaving the job Highest ever level in government records since 2000And that rate remains at an all-time high this year.

Economists have a name for all the churn we’ve seen in the job market: mobility.

The Great Recession Taught Workers to Keep Up, But Now They’re in “Such a Terrible Dynamic”

Mobility can be defined as change, advancement and a restless entrepreneurial spirit, said Heidi Schirholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute.

Schirholz said that ever since the Great Recession of 2008 and the massive layoffs, workers have made safety-oriented growth, hanging on to jobs and staying put.

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

If people are changing jobs, they are taking jobs that are a better match for them and that means the economy runs better, she said.

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

There is a dark side to all mobility. Consistent hiring and training and taking slack for unfinished jobs can be exhausting for both employer and worker.

Staff shortages meant that Perta, with his master’s degree, years of experience, and the title of manager, spent most of his days working as a teller in a bank. Salary also became an issue. To help make ends meet in his new expensive city, Perta made Doordarshan deliveries on the weekends.

So, just six months into a new job, Perta started looking for a new, new job. Very quickly, he found one at a large financial institution that came with a raise. Now, Perta feels happy and challenged, and is being paid more.

Watch Hot Pockets prices even after the hike

The NPR Marist poll also found that 61 percent of U,S, workers received a raise in the past year. But this does not mean that the financial condition of all people has become better.

Take 49-year-old Donna Dunn of Booker, Texas.

“We really are nowhere,” she said of her city, where she is the office manager of a health care clinic.

Dunn gets a 3% increase in the cost of living every year, but the real cost of living is rising much faster than that. Recent data shows that inflation is running at 8.3%, nearly three times that rate.

When people see that their wages rise, but prices are rising rapidly, economists call this the ‘money illusion’. Pay may seem big, but it’s an illusion. Simple math shows you are being paid less.

In fact, if you adjust for inflation, American workers have received the biggest pay cuts on record over the past year.

This did not come as a surprise to Dunn, who has five children, a tight budget and has developed an encyclopedic knowledge of food prices.

“I was able to get a dozen eggs for $2.69. The exact same dozen eggs were just $4.89 today,” she said. “The big box of Hot Pockets, the 36 Count Box, used to be $8.99. Now that exact box—and it only has 24—is $13.90.”

To try to cope with rising prices, Dunn swapped: pork instead of beef, PB&J instead of deli sandwiches and no longer eating out. Still, her family food bill rose from about $700 a month to over $1,600, and Donna was drowning. She is reluctantly choosing which bills to pay, and which ones not to pay.

Her employer offered a raise to help with inflation, but the money wasn’t enough. More than a third of those polled said their financial situation had worsened in the past year and a growing number reported falling behind on bills.

Dunn has found some solutions. In fact, he has grown them in his vegetable garden and in his mother’s field.

“I’m on a trading 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.”

A way around the money illusion? Don’t use money.

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