The rising costs of everyday goods outpaced annual growth in worker pay in the metro region that includes Long Island, new federal data show.
Wages and salaries grew at a rate of 5.3% from June 2021 to June 2022, failing to keep up with the 6.7% rise in consumer product costs in the 35-county metro area that includes parts of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, according to federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data released this week.
The year-over-year growth in wages – the largest component of total compensation – was larger for the nation overall, a 5.7% increase. Wage growth for the New York metro area was more than double the 2.3% rate reported between June 2020 and the same month last year.
For metropolitan regions across the U.S., the overall growth rate in consumer prices was 9.1% for the 12 months ended in June.
While consumer prices have grown faster than worker compensation, Bruce Bergman, regional economist with the Bureau’s New York and New Jersey information office, said the wage growth was the highest recorded in data that goes back to 2006.
For the 12 months ended in December 2021, the growth rate hit 4.6%, the second highest on record for the region.
Despite those cost increases, Bergman said metro regions like New York and the San Francisco metro area haven’t seen prices rise to the same extent as other regions throughout the country.
“New York, relatively speaking among the major metro areas, had slower rates of increases compared to other areas,” he said.
Los Angeles’ metro area, for example, saw costs rise 8.6% from June 2021 to June 2022, while prices in the metro that includes Chicago rose 9.4% during the same period, Bergman said.
Ryan Stanton, executive director of the Long Island Federation of Labor, said while workers may have seen some gains, rising prices are hurting working families.
“Working Long Islanders, they’re struggling like the rest of the nation,” Stanton said.
Stanton said one key takeaway from the current moment though is that the burden of rising costs is not being felt equally. CEOs of S&P 500 companies saw pay increase by 18.2% in 2021, he said, citing a recent AFL-CIO report.
“When working people are in a union, they’re able to bargain collectively for good wages,” he said. “They continue to do that so that as we’re facing these challenges, we’re facing them together and that it’s not working people taking on this burden alone.”
The federation speaks on behalf of the Island's more than 250,000 union members on labor issues, though not every union is an affiliate of the group.