American workers’ expectations when it comes to salary have risen to a new high of nearly $76,000 a year, according to new data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The average reservation wage – or the lowest wage that someone would be willing to accept for a new job – rose to $75,811 in March. The data comes from the New York Fed’s most recent SCE Labor Market Survey, which said the figure is $2,144 higher than it was in November 2022, when the survey was last conducted.
Respondents were asked about the lowest annual salary they would be most likely to accept if they were offered a job in their industry.
When comparing expectations of male and female workers, the Fed’s survey found that men increased their wage expectations since November by about 4% to $88,883. Women, on the other hand, increased their wage expectations by slightly over 2% to $63,069.
Meanwhile, those with a college degree now expect $97,270 annually to accept a new job. Those with less than a college degree actually reduced their wage expectations since November by $160 to $59,683.
For comparison, the median U.S. household income was just shy of $71,000 in 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The new high in average reservation wage comes as America’s employers added a strong 236,000 jobs in March, suggesting that the economy remains on solid footing despite the nine interest rate hikes the Federal Reserve has imposed over the past year in its drive to tame inflation.
The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, just above the 53-year low of 3.4% set in January, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.