U.S. Wage Growth Slows In November, up 1.2 % year over year

According to job site Glassdoor, the annual median base pay in the United States grew 1.2 % year over year (YOY) in November 2017 to USD 51,059. The Glassdoor Local Pay Reports show pay growth ticked down from a revised 1.5 % growth last month. Pay growth peaked in January 2017 at a revised 3.5 %

  • Low Paying Positions see Big Pay Increases as Labour Market remains tight
  • Retail Positions Continue to See Gains Ahead of Holiday Season: Warehouse Associate Wages Up 3.9 %, Cashier Wages Up 3.5 %
  • Among Top Metros, Fastest Wage Growth is in Seattle, Up 2.1 %, and Los Angeles, Up 2.0 %

The Glassdoor Local Pay Reports provide a unique monthly view into the country’s wage picture with salary estimates for nearly 85 job titles and year-over-year pay growth trends in the United States. The reports include details on 10 major metros: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.1

“U.S. wage growth is sluggish and November recorded the slowest pace of growth in the past three years. Despite being eight years into an economic expansion, salary increases are not where they should be and workers’ paychecks are not growing alongside overall improvements in the economy. While we are seeing bright spots in e-commerce and healthcare, these areas alone are not enough to create a positive overall picture for American wages,” said Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist of Glassdoor.

Low Paid Workers Seeing Big Salary Increases
Low-paying positions were among the jobs seeing the biggest YOY wage gains in November. Food service roles, including restaurant cook (up 4.2 % to USD28452) and barista (up 3.8 % to USD24563), as well as bank teller (up 3.5 % to USD 28676) were in the top 10 fastest pay gains this month.

Chamberlain noted, “We are experiencing a 17-year low unemployment rate today, which means there are fewer candidates competing for jobs at all levels. Salary increases among some of the lowest paying positions suggests the low-skill labour market is tightening and employers who are struggling to fill open roles are beginning to offer higher pay to attract workers.”

Holiday Demands Continue to Impact Retail Salary Outlook
Holiday shopping and online retailer growth continue to help drive salary increases among retail roles. Brick-and-mortar positions, including cashiers (up 3.5 % to USD 27620) and store managers (up 2.9 % to USD 48388), have seen positive growth over the last two months. Online retailers, like Amazon and Walmart, are pushing an uptick in back-end operations wages as demand for these roles continues to climb. Salaries are on the rise for warehouse associates (up 3.9 % to USD 42282), truck drivers (up 3.8 % to USD 52945), and delivery driver (up 3.0 % to USD37907).

“As the holiday season continues, we anticipate salaries among retail roles to continue to grow, especially as online retailers expand their footprint. We are seeing an increase in online shopping – this year, shoppers spent a record USD5 billion on Black Friday alone.2 In turn, the need for operations and delivery staff is on the rise and that is fuelling an uptick in wages for these workers,” said Chamberlain.

Healthcare Wages Continue to Rise
Rapid wage growth in the healthcare sector continued this month, with positions like medical technologist (up 4.0 % to USD54,625) and emergency medical technician (up 2.7 % to USD 34994) seeing the biggest increase. Similar to October’s Local Pay Reports, insurance agents (up 4.1 % to USD 41636) are also seeing growth given their understanding of both health and life insurance, especially tailored to the country’s population of aging Baby Boomers. There are more than 804000 open jobs in the healthcare industry on Glassdoor.

“Among the nine healthcare positions we track, pay is rising faster than the national average for the majority. These roles are often highly specialized and require unique skills and training. Thanks to healthcare labour shortages in many cities across the U.S., this translates to increased bargaining power and better offers for workers in a variety of healthcare fields,” continued Chamberlain.

Among jobs experiencing the biggest declines in YOY pay growth in November, bartender (down 4.9 % to USD 30822), loan officer (down 3.7 % to USD 43456) and java developer (down 3.8 % to USD 71379) topped the list.

For a list of jobs with the biggest pay declines, visit the Glassdoor Economic Research blog.

Fastest Pay Growth in Seattle and Los Angeles; Houston Falls Far Behind

Among the 10 metros tracked, wage growth was fastest in Seattle (up 2.1 % to USD 60351), and Los Angeles (up 2.0 % to USD 59638). Houston pay growth was slow again this month (0.3 % to USD 54215) and lagged well behind the U.S. average.

For more on jobs with the highest and lowest pay, visit the Glassdoor Economic Research blog.

The full data sets for the Glassdoor Local Pay Reports can be found on the Glassdoor Economic Research site, along with report methodology and Frequently Asked Questions.

To read more trends and insights from Chamberlain on this month’s report or his predictions regarding the November Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) Employment Situation Report, visit the Glassdoor Economic Research blog.

Any individual can also keep tabs on their personal worth in their local job market through Know Your WorthTM by Glassdoor. Visit Glassdoor or download the Glassdoor Job Search apps for iPhone or Android.

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1 For full methodology of the Glassdoor Local Pay Reports and how salary estimates are compiled, visit: https://www.glassdoor.com/research/studies/glassdoor-local-pay-reports-methodology/

2 Adobe Digital Insights: http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/25/news/black-friday-holiday-shopping-foot-traffic/index.html