Wages are up, but is there more money in your pocket?

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Wages are rising, but so are the cost of everyday products. Some have benefited from unexpected opportunities, while others continue to live paycheck to paycheck. 

Economist Ted Bolema said it depends on how each household was affected by the pandemic.

“There were the people who continued to work. Lots of other industries that either had to shut down for a while,” said Bolema.

Wichitan Taylor Baer is an experienced theater tech. She claims she has less money in her pocket now than pre-covid.

“I took a dip because I was going pretty high and strong for a while and then theater shut down so I couldn’t really do much,” commented Baer.

John Hickey had the opposite experience. “It helped us out a lot, actually, for me anyway. I know it’s really bad for a lot of other people in businesses but for the agriculture business I think it helped us out, stayed busy and a lot more money came in,” mentioned Hickey. 

Economist Jeremy Hill says generally, wages have gone up across the board. Meaning there should be more disposable income available. 

“We’re creating new opportunities and we have people moving into these jobs and so that actually creates this more income and then all these more savings,” said Hill.

However, not everyone is seeing dollar signs.

“The lower-income households that are squeezed more right this is also the ones that still are struggling more although they’ve had large increases in wages,” continued Hill.

Diane Deloach-Duckett works three jobs. She said she’s seen a slight increase in pay, but not enough to make a difference.

“The money that we got coming in, didn’t match the prices going up, it’s not just gas. It’s food and everything else,” said Duckett. 

So where do we stand? Is there money to spend?

“We’ve consumed so much. I think consumption should drop just a little bit but it’s still going to remain pretty high over this next year,” added Hill.

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