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PayScale Releases Fourth Quarter 2010 Compensation and Salary Index

PayScale Index reports decrease in consumer buying power with salaries at 2007 levels and the cost of goods continuing to rise
Seattle - January 11, 2011 - PayScale, Inc. today announced the 2010 Q4 PayScale Index that tracks quarterly compensation trends. Specifically, The PayScale Index follows changes in total cash compensation for full-time, private industry employees in the United States.

The newly released data shows wage levels at the end of 2010 were no higher than they were nearly three years ago although the cost of goods has increased, causing an overall reduction in consumer buying power. Wages have risen on average 0.3% since Q4 2007, while core inflation has increased by 4.5% in the same period. 

"2010 was a year when the wages really did not move up or down, rather they moved sideways. Mirroring the stubbornly high unemployment rate, pay was virtually unchanged in 2010 (down 0.1% nationally in Q4 2010 vs the year before). While better than the declining pay of 2009, it is a long way from the "normal" annual increases of 3% or more before the great recession," said Al Lee, Director of Quantitative Analysis at PayScale.

Index highlights include:

• Wages for workers at small companies (0-99 employees) have fallen through all of 2010 - In fact, they are ~1% lower than they were a year ago. This is a cause for concern as small companies generally have more flexibility to set wages in response to short-term trends than larger companies.

• In Q4 of 2010, earnings for construction workers hit their lowest point in three and a half years. Their earnings were down ~1.5% from just a year ago.

• Mining, Oil & Gas exploration is one of the few industries to see a growth in wages in Q4 2010 - earnings in this industry were up 0.8% from the previous year.  This is not a robust wage recovery, but better than the drops seen in other industries.

• Earnings for Healthcare workers have remained basically flat for the last two years. During this time, wages dropped, at most, a little over 0.5% from their peak, which is much better than nearly every other industry.

• Like the country as a whole, manufacturing workers' wages have not changed in more than a year - Q4 2010 showed no recovery as manufacturing incomes were exactly where they were 12 months earlier.

About The PayScale Index
The PayScale Index utilizes a unique approach to trend measurement. Unlike indices such as the Consumer Price Index, which measures the prices of certain goods and services (periodically updated to reflect changes in buying habits of Americans), The PayScale Index uses data on all private sector full-time employees working in a given time period.

PayScale has performed a detailed analysis of how various compensable factors, like work experience, education, employment setting and job responsibilities affect pay. This analysis is based on PayScale's extensive data of over 23 million employee profiles, accounting for 250 compensable factors for 7,000 unique job titles, which show how the pay of actual workers varies with each of these factors.

The PayScale Index also examines quarterly changes in the pay of employed workers across 15 private industry categories separately, 20 metropolitan areas, and across company sizes of less than 100 employees, 100-1500 employees, and more than 1500 employees. These industries include: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Business Operation Support Services; Construction; Finance & Insurance; Food Services & Accommodation; Healthcare & Social Assistance; Information, Media & Telecommunications; Manufacturing; Mining; Professional, Scientific & Tech Services; Real Estate; Retail; Transportation & Warehousing/Storage; Utilities; and Wholesale Trade.

About PayScale ( is the leading online provider of employee compensation data. With the world's largest database of individual compensation profiles, PayScale provides an immediate and precise snapshot of current market salaries to employees and employers. PayScale's patent-pending, real-time profiling technology collects and indexes employee pay attributes worldwide and makes this compensation data available through its online salary tools and salary benchmarking reports. PayScale was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Seattle. For more information, visit: About PayScale.

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