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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on How to Home.
Over the last two years, U.S. workers have contended with one of the most unusual economic environments in memory.
On one hand, persistent tightness in the labor market has provided greater opportunity and wage growth for many workers. The unemployment rate today sits at just 3.7%, but the economy nonetheless continues to add hundreds of thousands of jobs each month.
In efforts to recruit and retain workers in this environment, many employers have been boosting wages, especially for lower-earning workers.
But the highest levels of inflation in decades have eaten into workers’ gains. Year-over-year increases in the Consumer Price Index have topped 5% for every month since May 2021, peaking at 9.1% in June 2022. And many of the categories where costs have risen fastest are necessities that take up a large portion of household budgets, like shelter and groceries.
To determine the affordable metropolitan areas with the…
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