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The PayScale Index: The Economy Is Booming. Wages Are Not.

Topics: Data & Research
The PayScale Index

Unemployment is down. The stock market is booming. And employers are reaping record profits. But workers aren’t necessarily seeing the rewards.

The PayScale Index, which measures the change in wages for employed U.S. workers, shows that wages are flat. Wages declined 0.1 percent from Q2 to Q3 2018, according to the newly updated Index. Year-over-year wages grew just 0.4 percent.

“While key economic measures point to a robust economy, there is no question that these economic improvements have not translated into robust wage growth for the average worker,” said Katie Bardaro, Chief Economist at PayScale, in a statement. “While it’s encouraging to see that wages are not continuing to drop – as the Index reflected in Q2 – it is apparent the positive performance of many companies is not resulting in an increase in most employee’s paychecks.”

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Wages declined 0.1 percent from Q2 to Q3 2018, according to the newly updated PayScale Index. Year-over-year wages grew just 0.4 percent.” quote=”Wages declined 0.1 percent from Q2 to Q3 2018, according to the newly updated PayScale Index. Year-over-year wages grew just 0.4 percent.”]

Real wage growth was flat last quarter, meaning that the buying power of those paychecks remained the same. Real wages were down 1.8 percent for the year.

Since 2006, the value of workers’ pay with inflation has declined 9.5 percent.

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Wage Trends for Jobs, Industries and Metro Areas

Blue-collar wages were hardest hit last quarter, with transportation jobs experiencing the largest decline (-3.8 percent growth). Other jobs also saw wages drop, including those in manufacturing & production (-3.1 percent), installation, maintenance & repair (-1.6 percent) and food service & restaurant (-0.9 percent).

Marketing & advertising jobs saw the largest wage growth by far, at 3.5 percent, followed by accounting & finance (1.8 percent) and social service jobs (1.6 percent).

On the industry side, wage growth was highest in real estate (1.7 percent), technology (1.6 percent) and engineering & science (1.5 percent). Many blue-collar industries saw wages decline, including transportation & warehousing (-1 percent), manufacturing (-0.7 percent) and accommodation & food services (-0.4 percent).

Wondering how wages fared in your city? Austin had the roughest Q3; wages declined 1.4 percent. Several other metro areas saw declines, including Cincinnati (-1.1 percent growth), Detroit (-0.7 percent) and Orlando (-0.2 percent).

San Francisco topped the list of metro areas with high wage growth last quarter at 2.7 percent. Other metros with growing wages included Pittsburgh (1.7 percent), Boston (1.6 percent) and Los Angeles (1.5 percent).

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Have you received a raise this year? We want to hear from you. Share your story in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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