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Let’s start with the good.

According to human resource consulting company Aon Hewitt, its annual Salary Increase Survey revealed that the nation’s corporations are projecting they will provide an average salary increase of 2.9% in 2012. This is an ever so slight increase from the 2011 prevailing salary raise.

Aon Hewitt’s survey further reveals projections for a decrease in companies freezing salaries in 2012, down from 5% in 2011.

And, when we compare these figures to 2010, when 21% of U.S. companies froze pay, and to 2009, when 48% of companies froze salaries . . . well, that’s three pieces of good news.

With the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) predicting that energy, oil, gas, real estate, construction, engineering, telecommunications, and not-for-profit industries will see the highest salary raises in 2012, employees in these industries might even consider this news cause for celebration.

Shall we end this blog on a positive note? I think not.

Onto the expected news: Due to the instability of the economic situation, SHRM predicts that 92% of companies are continuing to opt for performance-based reward programs. My opinion: You can’t blame a company for rewarding top achievers. But, one might ask, are the
companies really rewarding top achievers? Or, are they downsizing the employees who command the highest salaries?

So, we’ve covered the good and the expected . . . onto the bad news.

According to a September 13 article in Reuters, the Congressional Budget Office reported that economic growth in 2011 and 2012 will remain slow and is likely to be lower than their August estimates of 2.3% and 2.7%. The agency is now predicting that the U.S. will see 1.5% growth this year and 2.5% next year. The analysts are also predicting that the unemployment rate of 9.1% will likely remain until after next year’s elections. Consumer confidence continues to take a nose dive, according to numbers released by the August Consumer Confidence Index, as consumers are saying jobs are “ever increasingly hard to get.”

There, my friends, is the down and dirty ugly.

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