8 ways to fight back against lower wages in your life

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On Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data showing that average weekly U.S. wages fell 0.5% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2016. It’s only the seventh time that’s happened since 1978.

Workers in more than 160 counties across the country saw these decreases firsthand. Among the hardest-hit counties were McClean, Ill. (-13.3%), Washington, Pa., (-12.0%)  and Lafayette, La., (-10.3%). Each saw double-digit declines in wages.

It’s easy to point fingers and assign blame when wondering how we’ve come to this situation. But the real question is: If this trend is negatively impacting your life, what can you do to change it?

Below are a few suggestions to help you get on track to a fatter paycheck!

Read more: These industries are adding the most jobs

Find an employer that’s known to pay a higher wage

There is a targeted trend of some high-profile companies willingly paying more to lower-income workers, according to the Wall Street Journal. Chase has announced a pay increase for 18,000 workers to at least $12 an hour. Starbucks also stepped up to the plate with a minimum 5% pay hike for it employees this year.

Costco, meanwhile, is known to pay some of the highest wages in all of retail.

Look for fringe benefits, particularly education

Maybe you can’t jump ship to a different employer right now. If that’s the case, are you taking advantage of all the perks your current employer is offering? Even fast-food restaurants are now offering tuition reimbursement to subsidize your education. Taking advantage of these kinds of programs can put you on track to a new, higher paying career.

Get yourself ‘upskilled’

If you’re stuck in low-wage work, there could be an opportunity for you to get some free training and move to a highly paid career, particularly in the manufacturing fields. The key is to find an employer willing to ‘upskill’ you. A good starting point is the National Fund for Workforce Solutions website and their list of regional collaboratives in 24 states.

Learn a trade

College may not be for everybody. For some people, pursuing a trade or technical training is a better fit.


Did you know some plumbers make $117,000 on average in their first year out of an apprenticeship program? That’s according to CNN Money in an article titled ‘The $100,000 job: Be an apprentice.’

Start a side hustle

Is there something you love to do that you think you could get paid for on an hourly or freelance basis? Then you’re a candidate to start a side hustle.

Here’s a list of the top-rated side jobs that can help you earn extra cash.

Become an entrepreneur

Everybody wants to be their own boss, right? While getting there is possible, it isn’t easy.

Clark loves entrepreneurs and routinely calls small business ‘the lifeblood of American capitalism.’ Here are eight things to consider before working for yourself.

Consider a work-at-home job

One of the most popular links on Clark.com is our list of work-at-home opportunities. This list is continually updated with new opportunities!

Read more: Top 10 best cities for freelancers and the self-employed

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