Average US pay raise will be 3.3% in 2004

U.S. workers will receive modest pay increases of just 3.3% this year, the same as last year, according to a survey of nearly 1,600 employers released last week by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, the national benefits consultancy. The data suggest that employers, who could face a rise in health insurance costs of 10% or more next year, are choosing to hold the line on wages even as the economy is starting to improve. Next year, for example, employers are expected to increase wages 3.5%, the fourth consecutive year that pay raises will have averaged less than 4%.