PayScale Index Q2 2015 Highlights

Q2 2015 Wages Down in Many Key Categories, But Increased Spending Predicts Recovery (Along With Inflation)

  • Last quarter, the PayScale Forecast predicted that Q2 2015 would see a decrease in wages by -0.1 percent. We were right that wages would go down, but they fell more than we anticipated. Overall wages were down -0.5 percent in Q2, and annual wage growth was only 0.3 percent.

  • Based on current wage trends, unemployment rates and the Consumer Price Index, we predict wage growth in Q3 2015 to be a slight uptick of 0.2 percent, resulting in annual wage growth of 0.4 percent.

  • The wage slowdown for STEM-focused jobs continued in Q2. Wages for IT jobs fell for the second quarter in a row (-0.4 percent). Wages for science and biotech jobs fell by -1.1 percent, tying with legal jobs for the worst quarterly growth in the jobs category.

  • Metro areas with a high population of STEM workers, such as San Francisco, Boston and Seattle saw smaller-than-usual upticks. San Diego, home to a large population of biotech workers, saw wages decrease by -0.6 percent in Q2.

  • After falling by 1.3 percent, wages in the Mining, Oil and Gas Exploration industry seem to be recovering, growing by 1.1 percent in Q2 2015. However, continued growth isn’t guaranteed – the barrel price of oil is still far below what it was one year ago.

  • But even with this industry growth, Houston still saw a quarterly wage decrease of 0.9 percent.

  • Consumers are switching from savings to spending mode, and the Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation industry is benefitting – they saw the second-largest quarterly growth across all measures in Q2 (0.7 percent). Personal spending increased more in May than it has since August 2009.
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Methodology for The PayScale Index: Trends in Compensation
The PayScale Index tracks quarterly changes in total cash compensation for full-time, private industry employees in the United States. In addition to a national index, it includes separate indices for specific industries, metropolitan areas, job categories, and company sizes. The PayScale Index uses 2006 average total cash compensation as a baseline.

See full methodology for compensation trend reports.
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