The PayScale Index, which measures the change in wages for employed U.S. workers, updated this morning, reflecting slower wage growth for the quarter. Wages grew 2.1 percent annually, but real wages — the buying power of workers’ paychecks, once inflation is taken into account — still lag behind pre-recession levels.
“The labor market is in transition from the post-election bump in Q4,” said Katie Bardaro, VP of Data Analytics and Lead Economist at PayScale. “The most recent Index shows positive results tempered by uneven growth by industry and geography. While it’s the seventh consecutive quarter of positive growth, the tepid increase lags inflation, keeping real wages 7 percent below those of 2006.”
Wage Growth By City, Industry and Job Type
If you live on the West Coast, your chances of getting a raise were better in Q1. San Francisco, Los Angeles (tied with Charlotte), and San Jose topped the list for cities with the highest quarterly wage growth. On the other hand, if you live in Phoenix, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Baltimore, Cleveland, Nashville, Austin or San Diego, you might not have seen a pay increase — these seven metro areas were the only ones to see pay decline.
In terms of industries, tech and real estate were the sectors with weakest wage growth. Pay in tech declined slightly (-0.2 quarterly wage growth) and real estate remained essentially flat (0.1 percent quarterly wage growth).
The PayScale Index shows positive (but slower) wage growth for the 7th quarter in a row.
In terms of job types, food service jobs had the strongest growth at 3.7 percent year over year, while construction ranked second at 3.3 percent. (If the industry vs. job type distinction is confusing, remember that industries include job categories that aren’t exclusive to that industry. For example, every industry has IT professionals and human resources staff.)
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