Economics/Class Relations

‘That raise meant nothing’: Inflation is wiping out pay increases for most Americans

By Abha Bhattarai Washington Post

Ty Stehlik, who works the front desk at a hotel in Milwaukee, pleaded for a raise all through the pandemic — and finally got an extra $1 an hour in the fall to make $15.

But higher prices for rent and food have completely negated that 7 percent bump. Stehlik, who identifies as nonbinary, says they’re still relying on family for help covering rent and groceries.

“That raise meant nothing,” said Stehlik, 23, whose roommate works at the same hotel. “I’ve got student loans. My roommate’s got medical debt. Most of my co-workers work two or three jobs, and they’re still having difficulty making ends meet.”

After years of barely budging, wage growth is finally at its highest level in decades. A global pandemic, combined with swift government stimulus and unexpected labor shortages have put workers in the driver’s seat, giving them the kind of negotiating power they had never imagined.

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