At the end of 2021, Americans’ salaries continued to rise. Prices, on the other hand, rose along with that. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compensation for American workers increased by 4% between December 2020 and December 2021–the largest since the fourth quarter of 2001.

Private sector workers–particularly in the hospitality industry–did even better, with pay raise of up to 4.4% over the same period. Last year, as employers struggled to recruit workers, labor expenses in the United States skyrocketed. However, when the income additions are adjusted for the high inflation of the pandemic, they are no longer as enticing. For the year ending in December, inflation-adjusted wages and salaries declined by 1.9%. Based on a poll released by a news agency last month, three-quarters of Americans are concerned about their own neighborhood’s economic status, while 63% believe the country’s economy is not in good shape. Poll respondents said that the rising costs of food, petrol, and other basic necessities are a serious problem. Other key economic challenges mentioned include supply chain disruptions, rising housing costs, labor shortages, and government spending. Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden is receiving low marks for his handling of the economy, with only 30% of respondents believing his policies have improved circumstances and 45% saying they have worsened them.