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January 07, 2003
Pay Raises to Average 3.6 to 4.5 Percent in 2003
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e and salary increases will average between 3.6 percent and 4.5 percent in the coming year, according to employers responding to an annual survey of pay budgets by Business & Legal Reports.

More than 850 organizations responded to this year's survey, which asked employers to estimate their pay budgets for merit increases (those based on an individual's performance or some other measure) and general increases (across-the-board), for 2003. Here are some highs and lows:

Merit increases

Employers in the Far Western states (CA, HI, AK, OR, and WA) may be giving larger merit increases than the rest of the nation - 3.8 percent to 4.4 percent to be exact. On the low end of the list, employers in the South (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, and TX) only plan on giving between 2.6 percent and 3.2 percent. The national average was between 3.3 percent and 3.7 percent.

General increases

Employers in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic regions (CT, DE, DC, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, AND VA) will receive slightly larger general increases (between 3.2 percent and 4.0 percent) than the rest of the nation. Employers in the Central, Rocky Mountain, and Southwest states (AZ, CO, ID, KS, MT, NM, NE, NV, ND, SD, UT, and WY) were at the bottom of the list giving between 2.7 percent and 3.8 percent. The national average was between 3.1 percent and 3.5 percent.

Only about a quarter of all survey respondents reported that they would be adjusting their rate ranges upward during the coming year.

BLR, based in Old Saybrook, Conn., publishes this survey annually along with information on wage and hour compliance and best practices. Visit BLR at or call 1-800-727-5257 for a free 30-day trial of any product. For a complementary copy of the survey results, contact Managing Editor Bruce Plent at


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