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Pay, some starting salaries to rise in 2016, Fed surveys show

Two-thirds of manufacturers in New York State and service firms in the metropolitan region expect to raise employee salaries this year, according to two surveys.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said wages for the typical factory worker, excluding medical and retirement benefits, would increase 2.3 percent in 2016, on average, based on responses to its poll of about 100 plants across the state. The bank conducted the poll earlier this month.

About a year ago, factories in a similar survey estimated they would boost wages 3.1 percent in 2015, on average.

In a separate poll, about 100 retailers and other service firms predicted their typical worker would be paid 3.1 percent more, on average, in 2016, excluding benefits. That’s up from the 2.7 percent raise projected for 2015 a poll last April.

The service firms polled are located on Long Island, in New York City and its northern suburbs.

The New York Fed said this week that “no respondent projected a decrease” in workers’ pay in the surveys this month.

In a question not included in previous surveys, “firms were asked by what percentage they expected starting salaries for new workers to change in 2016, relative to 2015,” the bank said. “Fifty-four percent of manufacturers projected an increase, while almost all of the remaining firms expected salaries to remain the same.”

Both plants and service firms have added workers in the past 12 months, though the median number of four people among plants is down one person from the April 2015 polls. Among service firms, the median added was five people, unchanged from a year ago.

“When asked how long, on average, it had taken to fill job openings . . . the median manufacturing respondent said 30 days, while the median service-sector respondent indicated 40 days,” the New York Fed said.

More than three in 10 plants and service firms said it took longer to fill job vacancies than in 2014. “Only a handful of respondents . . . said the duration had declined” year over year, the bank reported.

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