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The PayScale Index Shows Soft Wages Despite a Strong Economy

Topics: Data & Research

The PayScale Index, which measures the change in wages for employed U.S. workers, recently updated for Q1 2019. Nominal wages increased only 0.4 percent during the first quarter and 0.6 percent year over year. Real wages — the value of workers’ pay after inflation — declined 0.8 percent year over year.

The PayScale Index
Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

“Even though March employment numbers outpaced expectations, PayScale’s Q1 Index indicates that it continues to be a turbulent time for the average U.S. employee, with uncertain wage growth across many jobs and industries and a continued decline in real wages for most workers,” said Katie Bardaro, Chief Economist at PayScale, in a statement.

“However, we do observe some bright spots in an otherwise disheartening report,” she continued. “Our most recent Index shows technology jobs — along with tech hub cities such as Seattle, San Francisco and San Jose — are continuing to thrive — as are accounting and finance, and marketing and advertising jobs.”

Where Wages Are Growing

Nominal wage growth was highest in Accounting & Finance jobs (2.7 percent year over year), Marketing & Advertising jobs (2.6 percent Y/Y) and Information Technology jobs (2.3 percent Y/Y).

The Q1 2019 PayScale Index shows declines in wages in Transportation jobs (-4.8 percent Y/Y growth), Manufacturing & Production jobs (-4.8 percent Y/Y growth) and Installation, Maintenance & Repair jobs (-3 percent Y/Y growth), among other job categories.

[See more information on wage growth in job categories.]

It’s no surprise that tech hubs topped the list for wage growth in metro areas: Seattle (2.5 percent Y/Y), San Francisco (2.4 percent Y/Y) and San Jose (2.2 percent Y/Y).

Other cities saw a decline in wages year-over-year, including Charlotte (-0.7 percent Y/Y growth), Detroit (-0.4 percent Y/Y growth), Pittsburgh (-0.3 percent Y/Y growth) and Houston (-0.3 percent Y/Y growth).

[See more information on wage growth in metro areas.]

For more information on wage growth across industries and company sizes, as well as data insights on wage growth in Canada, see The PayScale Index.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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