BLR News


Despite weak economy and rising costs, salary increases should hold steady

Old Saybrook, CT, August 20, 2008 — The salary data contained in the Business & Legal Reports, Inc. (BLR®) annual BLR Pay Budget Survey Report, show increases are holding steady for 2009 despite a weak economy and rise in costs. BLR is an award-winning publisher dedicated to supporting companies with up-to-date HR, Compensation, Safety, and Environmental analysis, training, and regulatory compliance information.

The BLR Pay Budget Survey questions employers on planned budgets for merit and general salary increases in 2009, analyzing responses by region, industry, and nationwide, then compiling information critical to employers that want to make sure their compensation packages and annual merit increases are compliant and competitive in the marketplace. This year’s survey indicates that the average planned merit increase for 2009 is 3.71%, slightly higher than the actual average merit increase of 3.67% given in 2008. The average budgeted general salary increase in 2009 is 3.47%, compared with 3.40% given in 2008. Employers award merit increases to recognize an employee’s achievements and accomplishments, while general increases are typically based on cost of living increases.

Management and Construction Industries Projected to Receive Much Larger Increases

Employees in the Management industry will see merit increases averaging 5.7% and general increases around 4.0%. Exempt workers in the Construction industry are projected to receive average merit increases of 4.7% and general increases of 3.9%. Among other industries expected to give higher-than-average increases is Government, as depicted in the table below, a sample of the Merit and General Increases by Industry Planned for 2009 findings table included in this year’s report. Additional industries surveyed and depicted in the full table include Agriculture, Health, Manufacturing, Other Services, Real Estate, Recreation, Retail/Wholesale, Transportation, and Utilities.

Larger Merit Increases Planned for Western Half of US

The Central/Rocky Mountain/Southwest and Far West regions of the country are slightly above the average, at 4% for exempt employees and 3.8% for nonexempt office employees. 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%.

Employers face numerous challenges in Compensation Planning

According to BLR Compensation expert Catherine Moreton, J.D., economic pressures and rising costs are likely effecting employers’ compensation budgets for 2009. “Employers find themselves in an unusual situation,” says Moreton, managing editor of BLR HR and Compensation publications. “The economy is weak and some believe we are in a recession. Unemployment is on the rise. Yet, employers are concerned that they won’t be able to hire and retain employees with the talent and experience they need now that the Baby Boomers are beginning to retire. Add to the mix that employees are struggling with big increases in gas and food prices, and it isn’t surprising that employers have decided to hold salary increase budgets steady for 2009.”

To purchase the 2009 Pay Budget Survey, with detailed analysis of this year’s results, please visit or call 800-727-5257

About Business & Legal Reports, Inc.

Business & Legal Reports, Inc. (BLR®) is an award-winning publisher dedicated to supporting companies with up-to-date HR, Compensation, Safety and Environmental analysis, training, and regulatory compliance information. Founded in 1977 with a mission to provide executives and decision makers with reliable, easy-to-understand analysis of the ever-increasing and complex state and federal laws, today BLR delivers online services such as,,, and as well as popular Web destinations for professionals such as the, and BLR also publishes highly regarded state compliance services such as What to Do About Personnel Problems in [Your State], Employee Compensation in [Your State], and Environmental Compliance in [Your State] as well as best practice newsletters, benchmark surveys, training materials, and books for more than 300,000 companies and their employees worldwide. For more information, contact BLR at or call 800-727-5257.