Survey projects 2011 pay increases

Colorado employers will offer annual wage increases averaging 2 percent statewide for the coming year, according to Mountain States Employers Council’s 32nd-annual Pay Increase Projections survey.

The projected increases are consistent with the 2010 wage-increase projections that averaged 2.0 percent.

Northern Colorado and Fort Collins increases are projected to average 1.8 percent in 2011, higher than the 2010 projections of 1.7 percent. The Resort areas, which typically have the highest projections in the region, project increases of 1.5 percent in 2011, consistent with the 1.5 percent wage hikes provided in 2010.

Geographically, the state’s highest projected wage increases come from the Boulder/Longmont area, with a projection of 2.4 percent average increases in 2011. This increase is higher than the 2.2 percent projected wage increases in 2010.

Employers in the Colorado Springs/Pike’s Peak region project average increases of 2.2 percent in 2010, higher than the state average, but stable with the compared to 2.2 percent projected in 2010.

“This shows that employers are still being cautious,” said Lorrie Ray, Membership Development Director for MSEC. “They’re not willing to go out on a limb right now.”

The state’s oil and gas sector showed the largest projected increase for 2011 at 4.1 percent, higher than the 2.9 percent for 2010. The mining sector followed oil and gas with projected increases of 2.6 percent for 2011, compared to 3.2 percent in 2010.

The public sector showed the lowest projected increase at 1 percent compared to 1.4 percent for 2010. For the last three years, Colorado’s construction sector projected the lowest average increase in wages, averaging 1.2 percent in 2010, a drop from 2.1 percent projected for 2009. For 2011, the construction sector is projecting an average 1.9 percent increase.

With 630 employers responding, the MSEC survey is the largest sampling of pay increase projections in the Rocky Mountain region. By comparison, an average of 2,000 employers across all 50 states are used as the sample in nationwide surveys.

The survey’s “mode,” of the most commonly occurring percentage in the sample, is 0 percent for 2011, consistent with the 2010 and 2009 mode of 0 percent. The 2008 mode was 4 percent and from 2004 to 2007, the mode was 3 percent.
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