NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — U.S. inflation now sits at a 40-year high, with prices shooting up 8.5% in March compared to 2021.

The high cost of living is impacting some more than others, including retirees.

One out of four adults said that inflation is the single greatest threat to their retirement plans in 2022, according to Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis.

In just February, 3% of retirees re-entered the workforce, a trend that is expected to continue for months according to Indeed.

Daniel Shomo, Director of Permanent Placement Services with Robert Half Talent Solutions’ Finance & Accounting division, says it’s welcomed news for desperate employers.

“I see some of the restaurants that can’t open at certain times because they can’t find the talent that’s available,” Shomo said.

With current market conditions and inflation being a huge topic of discussion when it comes to wages, employers are starting to take action.

A new Robert Half study shows:

  • 56% of C-suite executives surveyed said they have observed salary discrepancies between new hires and more tenured staff in the past year
  • Of those, 62% are regularly reviewing compensation plans and increasing salaries for existing employees, when appropriate, to align with current market rates

“There are so many companies moving here that it’s putting pressure on the salaries in the Nashville market plus the inflation is putting pressure on that as well,” Shomo said.

Now, employees’ expectations are rising along with inflation.

There are several factors at play when it comes to wage growth, and employees’ expectations are among them. In a separate survey of more than 1,000 U.S. workers:

  • 34% of respondents said they have not had a raise in 12 months and another 16% received one but were disappointed with the amount
  • 62% plan to ask for a raise this year, and 27% will look for a new job if they don’t get it

Unfortunately for the smaller companies, they can’t afford it.

“A lot of these small companies are struggling financially to begin with, so to give someone an 8%-10% raise is tough, but if they don’t, they’re going to lose them to someone else so its definitely putting pressure on everyone,” Shomo said, adding that not everything is about price.

“It may be a good time to speak with your employer about flexibility in schedule hybrid or remote as opposed to going in every day and paying $4+ in gasoline,” Shomo said.

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It remains unclear just how many retirees will rejoin the labor force, but experts at the Schwartz Center believe the lack of demand for older workers’ skills and low levels of wage growth within that age group shows most will remain retired and for some, it’s not by choice.