Gridlocked – 2019 Salary Budget Increase Projections

Gridlocked – 2019 Salary Budget Increase Projections

Our economic growth is flourishing!

The United States’ unemployment rate is as low as 3.9 percent, as reported by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and our real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at a rate of 4.2 percent in the second quarter of 2018, according to a “second estimate” by the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).  Considering these numbers, it appears our economy is on an upturn.

However, salary budget increase projections remain stagnant for the fifth consecutive year.

According to WorldatWork, the 2019 projected salary budget increases will remain between 3.0 to 3.2 percent with a median of 3.0 percent, and a mean (average) of 3.2 percent.  Actual increases for 2018 were 3.0 and 3.1 percent for the median and mean, respectively.

The construction industry is one of very few industries that is expected to have slightly higher increases with average projections between 3.6 to 3.7 percent, while the education sector is projected to have an average increase at least half a percentage lower than the national projected average.  (WorldatWork)

Company size also plays a role in the projections, regarding company size by employee head count.  Organizations reporting 2,499 employees or fewer are projecting average increases approximately one- to two-fifths of a percent higher than organizations reporting 2,500 or more employees.  (WorldatWork)

Surprisingly, the same is not true regarding organization size by revenue.  Organizations of all revenue sizes are projected to have average increases between 3.0 to 3.2 percent, regardless of revenue size.  (WorldatWork)

The Conference Board also projects salary budget increases at a median of 3.0 percent overall – when including all industries and/or all employee categories.  Additionally, they are projecting inflation rates at 2.4 percent for both 2018 and 2019, at the time of this newsletter.

The projected 3.0 to 3.2 percent increases are expected nationally, with no states projecting increases above or below the 3.0 to 3.2 percent projection.  (WorldatWork)

As the economy continues to thrive, perhaps salary budget increases will finally surpass their standstill and reach pre-2009 levels.

However, for the unforeseeable future, it seems, salary budget increase projections will remain at the 3.0 to 3.2 percent rate that we have become accustomed to over the recent half-decade gridlock.

Contact Us


Association Memberships

Compensation Insights

Atlanta Area Compensation Association (AACA)

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Atlanta

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)



We have clients across the United States and Internationally.

Atlanta History Center
Atlanta Mission
Goodwill of Southeast Georgia

Case Studies