Wages are steadily rising across the nation in a candidate-friendly market, but Kansas City’s are rising at a rate below the national average.

That’s according to a review of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by The Playbook, which found average weekly earnings rose 5.7% in U.S. metro areas between February 2021 and February 2022. The average employee in a metro area is taking home about $48 more than they were in February 2021 ($920.30 compared to $872.59).

But in the Kansas City area, that increase is 4.45% — an average hourly wage of $27.39.

Small businesses are struggling with how to approach pay in the quickly evolving climate. During the course of 2021, many businesses boosted pay as they sought to attract or retain talent, but experts say that trend led to many companies paying 10% or 20% more than traditional wages for many positions and even more for some in-demand fields — numbers many small companies simply can’t afford at a time when the price of nearly everything else also is rising.