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Will the increase in wages help people cope with inflation?
April 18, 2022 at 5:00 AM
by Elliot Omanson

I think there's something neat taking place right now that perfectly coincides with Easter. And I believe that one of the nice things about Easter being here and as part of spring is that it's a time of renewal. So, I think there's a lot about the holiday itself about renewal. And oddly enough, it's not a national holiday, but it is a trading holiday. So the stock market's closed on Good Friday. But I think there's a more robust sense of renewal taking place.

Sometimes it's a little harder to see because I hate always talking about different media narratives, but fear, uncertainty, and doubt. I think we call that FUD sells. And it gets clicks. It gets eyeballs. And the more you can keep people in an agitated state, the more they tune in. And so I think that the days of the local newspaper, having articles of something positive that took place in the community are gone. Those news sources have fallen by the wayside and disappeared. And so, I just want to talk about what's occurring in the economy today. The economy doesn't always translate over to the stock market, and the stock market doesn't always go up when the economy is doing well, either.

They're not always correlated together, but Americans have more money to spend if the economy is doing well and it does well long enough. They're more comfortable moving that spending out of their savings accounts and into investments. And it's like you could think of it as a leading indicator. So, what's happening. Inflation. It's big, scary inflation that keeps getting talked about. The numbers came out for it, and it's higher than ever, 8.5%. I don't know when. I'd hate to say something would be wrong, but you got to go back ways to get to 8.5% again. But let's look at that, though.

And full disclosure here, I think everybody that knows me knows I am which political side spectrum I fall onto. None of this is political. For me, it is what it is. And I think it's essential that we stop trying to pump information out with a plan or with a particular slant to it. And so that's why that's one of the reasons why I like doing this is I know it's a tiny audience that gets to see it, but I always try to do that. And I've not always been right on things. But back to inflation is at 8.5%. At the same time, inflation has gone to 8.5%, and wages in the hospitality and restaurant industry have increased.

Now think about those two industries. These are heavily minimum wage or lower wage. These are people that might be relying on tips. Those wages have increased 11.5% year on year. So, we're talking about an extensive section of our workforce that's very much at risk due to their salaries. And they've received an 11.5% wage gain in the last 12 months. Whereas at the same time, inflation has gotten up 8.5%. So, by no means is that as good as all those people have just received an increase in pay of 11.5%, but they've received an increase in income that allows them to deal with the inflation that's occurred. Now, remove hospitality and restaurants, and what do you get? The rest of the workforce their wages have increased by 5%. Not near as good as the 11.5%.

But if my wages have gone up by 5% and the cost of my goods has gone up 8.5%, what's the net effect? A 3.5% increase, probably. And it's not good, but at the same time, as I mentioned in one of our previous videos, individuals in America have added $3 trillion to their savings. Businesses and individuals have accumulated $19 trillion in savings. So we have a significant cushion built up. We have a very at-risk, significant, low-wage portion of our population, having received an 11.5% increase in wages, outpacing inflation. We have the rest of the workers in America, for the most part, having received a 5% increase in their salaries, which dramatically cuts the impact of inflation. All right. Now, I haven't heard anybody put it into this perspective, which is nuts to me, considering this article came out today.

U.S consumer mood brightens in early April. U.S Consumer sediment rebounded unexpectedly in early April from a decade low with a strong job market, lifting the outlet for wage growth and a fallen gasoline prices from the previous months to record high, helping to cap expectations for further acceleration to inflation. The University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index rose to 65.7 preliminary this month from a final reading of 59.4 in March, which has been the lowest since 2011. That top expectation for a reading of 59. According to a Reuters poll of economists and helped snap a skid of three consecutive monthly declines.

So, have we hit bottom? Has that turnaround started to come? Well, I mentioned our most aggressive tech stocks. They've floundered since this, but a couple of weeks ago, we had a 20% gain in a single week in those funds. Now we don't have a significant position in them. They're very volatile, but we saw a 20% gain in a few days; it looked like they had hit bottom. They're flat since. They're struggling, and they continue to go. But we have these wage increases. We have consumer sediment going up. We have unemployment down to 3.6, and we've recovered another 8 million jobs that have been lost in the last year and a half, that were lost in the pandemic on top of all the other jobs before this year and a half.

And so, I'm not always trying to come on here and just tell all the good and beautiful things. I am by nature an optimist, but I just feel like there are enough people out there all the time doom and glooming it up to try and scare everybody into changing their behaviors in the way in which they want that it might just be good to take a step back and look at things and see for what they are. And as I started off talking about Easter, I felt like there had been a corner that's been turned. I think consumers, sediment has bottomed out and has started to rebound.

With the wage growth that's come and it's offsetting a lot of the negative impact from inflation, with the amount of savings that people have as a cushion, it's going to help further sustain people through some of these rockier times. And I think you know that we will see some pretty good times ahead.