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July 28, 2008
Employers Plan Merit Increases Averaging 3.71% in 2009

BLR's 2009 Annual Pay Budget Survey results are in and the overall planned merit increase for 2009 is projected to be 3.71%.

Planned merit increases for exempt employees on average are projected to be slightly higher at 3.8%, and for nonexempt employees slightly lower at 3.6%. These numbers are virtually unchanged from the actual average merit increases reported by survey participants for 2008.

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Smaller Employers Take the Lead

Preliminary results from the 2009 Annual Pay Budget Survey indicate that employers with fewer than 100 employees are planning average merit increases of 4.1% compared to companies with more than 500 employees reporting planned, average merit increases of 3.6% for 2009.

Certain Regions of the Country Plan Larger Merit Increases

Planned average merit increases are expected to be higher in certain regions of the United States as well, including the Central/Rocky Mountain/Southwest and Far West regions of the country. Employers in the East Central part of the country are forecasting the lowest merit increases for 2009, with exempt employees projected to receive average increases of 3.6% and nonexempt employees 3.5%.

Similar Results from the 35 th Annual WorldatWork Salary Budget Survey

WorldatWork announced the preliminary results of its annual pay budget survey earlier this month projecting planned average salary increases for 2009 of 3.9%, holding steady from the 3.9% actual average increase it reported in 2008. According to WorldatWork, after historic lows in 2003 and 2004, the steady growth in salary budgets over the last few years indicates that labor markets are stable.

Full Report Released in August

More than 1,600 employers participated in BLR's 2009 Annual Pay Budget Survey. The full report will be available in mid-August, which will also include 2008 actual and 2009 planned general pay increases, and adjustments to rate ranges.

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