I peaked in 2001.
That's not uncommon, and here's why: that's when health care costs started to explode. So your total compensation (cost to your employer) has actually been going up (5%/yr is typical), but your take-home pay has gone down, at least if you work for a company that has a typical cafe 125 plan with a PPO.
For the last 5 years I haven't really been offered a chance to pay more for health care, in fact my contributions have remained flat. They could have asked for more, but they didn't. Why? Because it was easier for them not to, and no other reason. I do have more and larger deductables. But perhaps that has not been enough.
In the current environment (my ex-co. is both firing and hiring at the same time) I would not doubt they could get rid of anyone (even if productive) that was not indispensible and hire someone else at 75% of the last guy's salary.
An article on-line recently said most people would accept a pay cut versus layoffs, but my ex would not even consider it. They think that such an employee would be disgruntle, not grateful, and more likely to jump ship. See jumping ship is bad and layoffs are good. Why? Because they want to control the timing.
No, I mistated. What they want to control is everything