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Top 5 Cities for Wage Growth

By Bridget Quigg

Do you know which U.S. metro offers you the best chance to boost your earnings? Test yourself. Finish the following sentence with the correct choice.

Workers are enjoying the strongest wage growth in:

a. Houston
b. Baltimore

If you answered Houston, congratulations! The energy industry there keeps wages moving upward. Baltimore, on the other hand, lags behind national averages. Want to know more? Check out the results for The PayScale Index for Q3 2011.

Are We Talking About Raises?

The PayScale Index tells you wage trends, but they don't necessarily translate to raises. It compares apples to apples by looking at pay for the same job, requiring the same skills and years of experience, one year compared to the next. So the data isn’t so much about raises for specific people over time but is more about overall economic health and what employers are paying for the same skills one year versus the next. Learn more about our calculations by reading our methodology.

Where Wages Are Growing Most Quickly

The following is a list of the top five towns for wage growth and their average change in pay over the last twelve months, according to The PayScale Index.

1. Seattle 1.9%

The tech industry (another leader in The PayScale Index) is keeping the Emerald City afloat. Amazon, Microsoft and smaller technology firms are hiring as fast as they can to stay ahead of the competition.

Annual Trends in Compensation for Seattle Metro Area
  Seattle Metro Area
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Compensation Data Provided by PayScale, Inc.

2. San Francisco 1.6%


Like its neighbor to the north, San Francisco’s healthy wage results owe thanks to technology. In tech-heavy San Jose and the Silicon Valley, business is warming up post recession. Innovative ideas are the name of the game and companies are battling it out to hire the most skilled workers available.

Annual Trends in Compensation for San Francisco Metro Area
  San Francisco Metro Area
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Compensation Data Provided by PayScale, Inc.

3. Houston 1.4%


Paying about $4 a gallon for gasoline makes the average consumer cringe, but it means that oil exploration workers in the Gulf, and those supporting them, enjoy healthier wages than most other employees in the U.S.

Annual Trends in Compensation for Houston Metro Area
  Houston Metro Area
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Compensation Data Provided by PayScale, Inc.

4. Boston 1.2%

Technology, once again, is accelerating wage growth in another major metro: Boston. In addition, investment in biotech and medical research, as well as bustling healthcare activity, helps workers maintain their earnings levels in Bean Town.

Annual Trends in Compensation for Boston Metro Area
  Boston Metro Area
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Compensation Data Provided by PayScale, Inc.

5. Washington, D.C. 1.0%

The PayScale Index does not include wages from D.C.’s large public sector, but the private-industry employees living in or near D.C. still benefit from the Federal spending going on around them.

Annual Trends in Compensation for Washington, DC Metro Area

Washington, DC Metro Area
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Compensation Data Provided by PayScale, Inc.

 

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