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The PayScale Index is Cautiously Optimistic About Wages in Q2 2013

After some minor dips in Q1 marred a nice run of rapid wage growth, it is with a cautious sigh of relief that we announce that the Q2 2013 PayScale Index comes bearing better news – for the most part.

Last quarter’s drops seem to be a one-time occurrence, and wages in most of the industries, job types, cities and company sizes that the PayScale Index tracks look like they’re on the rise again.

PayScale Index Q2 2013

The PayScale Index provides a ranking of the 12-month percentage change in wages experienced over the last year (i.e. the growth/loss in wages from Q2 2012 to Q2 2013) for US cities, industries, job families and company sizes. These rankings help to call out the winners and losers of the last year. To make comparisons, it’s helpful to know the 12-month percentage change in national wages was 2.5 percent. Therefore, any value greater than 2.5 percent performed better than the national average.

Before you get too excited about the good news, it should be noted that these aren’t the rapid gains we were seeing last year. Recovery is slower, and there were some decreases. Notably, mining, oil & gas showed another decrease (0.6 percent decrease in Q2) after landing at the bottom of last quarter’s list. But still, the overall picture is far rosier than it was three months ago: wages in the US are up 0.5 percent.

Who saw the biggest increases in pay? Among industries, it was the underdogs who triumphed. Food services and arts and entertainment were both up 3.9 percent year-over-year, while media and publishing and sales and installation topped the list of job categories. San Francisco saw the biggest wage increases among US metro areas with a 4.3 percent year-over-year increase, followed by Baltimore, MA (McNulty would be proud) with a 3.5 percent increase.

This quarter’s index also shows some interesting reversals Industries that generally top our list, like mining and oil and healthcare, hover near the bottom this time. Seattle, which was a top performer in Q4 2012 and safely in the middle of the list of major US cities in Q1 2013, hovers near the bottom this quarter at number 19, with only a 1.9% increase year-over-year.

So what does this all mean? It means that the wage decreases reported in last quarter’s PayScale Index probably weren’t the beginning of a trend. They may have been seasonal, or self-corrections after several quarters of rapid growth, but for the most part, they don’t seem to be sticking around. Katie Bardaro, our Lead Economist, summarizes “The recent jobs report, together with the rise in wages observed in The PayScale Index show signs of a continuing, albeit slow recovery,” said Katie Bardaro, lead economist for PayScale.

On an individual level, the PayScale Index is an easy way to gauge wage trends in your industry, city, job family and company size. If you see significant changes in the categories related to your career, it’s a good time to update your PayScale Survey. You might find out that you deserve a higher salary than what you’re earning now.

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