Americans’ wages continue to rise–but so do prices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that paychecks for American workers increased by 4% between December 2020 and December 2021–the largest since the fourth quarter of 2001.

Workers from the private sector–particularly in the hospitality industry–did even better, with pay rising to 4.4% over the same period–the best rate since 2001. As employers struggled to find workers in 2021, labor expenses in the United States soared. However, it is no longer appealing when the income additions are adjusted for the high inflation due to the pandemic. 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 below par. Poll respondents said that the rising prices of food, oil, and other basic needs are a serious problem. Other key economic challenges included are supply chain issues, rising housing rates, labor shortages, and government spending. Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden is receiving much negative feedback for his handling of the economy, with only 30% of respondents believing in his policies and 45% saying they have worsened the economy.