NU Online News Service, June 8, 11:35 a.m. – The Conference Board, New York, an industry group, predicts inflation will eat up U.S. workers’ salary increases this year and in 2002.

A Conference Board survey of 500 companies in six industries suggests that salaries will increase only 4% this year and next year. Theboard’s own forecasters expect inflation to reach 3.7% this year and 3.8% next year.

The results suggest that inflation-adjusted increases in compensation will be close to 0%, the board says.

If the prediction is correct, the next two years could be the worst years for workers since 1990, when real earnings fell by half a percentage point.

The board survey found that compensation for workers at oil companies will probably increase faster than the inflation rate, while compensation for workers at technology companies will fall.

Workers at insurance companies may get just enough salary increases to keep up with inflation, the board says.