As workers across the country continue to work hard to bring home a paycheck, more and more people are paying attention to every cent that gets taken out of their earnings. And these days, employees in New York City and elsewhere are willing to take jobs that pay less in the hopes of enjoying some job security in an unstable economy, so every penny counts. However, many of those people in non-managerial jobs may have noticed an unfortunate trend.

In August, hourly rates for people working in the private sector actually dropped a cent. While one penny might not sound like a significant amount, experts are worried more about the implications of the drop rather than the number.

Economists believe that with increased competition for jobs, employees are less likely to demand regular wage increases. With the high number of unemployed workers, employers know that there are many other people who would take a job for a cent less and therefore have no incentive to raise wages for those currently employed.

The fact that people are working for lower hourly rates has cultural implications far beyond the workplace. When people don't get the raise or the rate they feel they deserve, they are less likely to spend money on products in the marketplace. As one economist said, the economy will not be able to grow unless there is real growth in income levels.

Whether or not a penny an hour makes a significant difference in your paycheck, it is an important trend to keep an eye on. Employers who feel as though they do not need to properly compensate workers may end up not paying overtime wages or underpaying workers. However, by keeping an eye on your income and paycheck, it may be possible to keep employers in check.

Source: CNN, "Why wages aren't rising," Steve Hargreaves, Sept. 11, 2012

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