New York Fed: Job seekers demanding higher starting wages

While the proportion of individuals seeking new jobs is down from a year ago, the average starting salary that job applicants are willing to accept hit a new high this year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s latest labor market survey.

The survey found that the proportion of individuals looking for work in the past four weeks declined to 19.4% in July, down from 24.7% during July 2022. Among respondents, the expected likelihood of moving to a new employer declined to 10.6% from 11% during the same time frame. At the same time, the average expected likelihood of becoming unemployed increased to 3.9% from 2.3%, the highest reading since March 2020.

The average reservation wage—the lowest annual salary respondents said they are willing to accept for a job offer—jumped from $72,873 in 2022 to $78,645 this year, the highest reading in the history of the survey. The year-to-year increase was more pronounced for respondents above age 45. Still, the average expected annual salary of job offers in the next four months was $67,416, up from $60,310 last year.