PayScale Index Reveals Q3 Wages Remain Flat While Other Indicators Show the U.S. Economy is Booming
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PayScale Index Reveals Q3 Wages Remain Flat While Other Indicators Show the U.S. Economy is Booming

Seattle, WA – October 9, 2018 – Today, PayScale Inc, the leader in precise, on-demand cloud compensation data and software for businesses and individuals, released the Q3 2018 PayScale Index, which tracks quarterly and annual trends in compensation and provides a U.S. wage forecast for the coming quarter.

The most recent Q3 Index showed wage growth across the U.S. was generally flat. Currently, the U.S. economy is experiencing record corporate profits, low unemployment rates and a booming stock market — economic indicators which typically drive wages upward. In addition to stagnant nominal wage growth, real wages for Q3 were down 1.8 percent from Q3 2017 which means the average person could purchase even less than they could last year when wages are measured in relation to inflation.

“While key economic measures point to a robust economy, there is no question that these economic improvements have not translated into robust wage growth for the average worker,” said Katie Bardaro, Chief Economist at PayScale. “While it’s encouraging to see that wages are not continuing to drop – as the Index reflected in Q2 – it is apparent the positive performance of many companies is not resulting in an increase in most employee’s pay checks.”

Here are the key findings from the Q3 2018 PayScale Index:

Wages were generally flat or down across the board:

  • After a less-than-stellar Q2, wages fell by 0.1 percent since last quarter and grew a mere 0.4 percent year over year.
  • Real wages were down 1.8 percent since last year.
  • Blue collar wages were hit hardest as wages fell for transportation; manufacturing & production; and installation, maintenance & repair jobs. Transportation jobs experienced the largest decline with wages falling 3.8 percent in one year.
  • A bright spot in the economy was marketing and advertising jobs which increased by 3.5 percent since last year.

 Slow Wage Growth in U.S. Metro Areas:

  • Austin experienced a difficult Q3 with the lowest annual wage growth of all the metro areas included in the analysis. Wages fell 1.4 percent over the last year.
  • San Francisco experienced the largest increase in wages with grew 2.7 percent since last year.
  • For the first time, the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC area was included in the Index. Employees in the Research Triangle experienced 1.2 percent wage growth over the last year.

Canadian wages fare slightly better than the U.S.

  • Wages in Canada grew by 1.3 percent over the last year.
  • Annual wage growth was up 2.1 percent in Vancouver; 2.0 percent in Toronto and 0.8 percent in Calgary. Annual wage growth was down 0.1 percent Edmonton; perhaps slowed following a ruling that halted the Trans Mountains pipeline project.

The PayScale Index is a different economic measure than the Employment Cost Index (ECI) reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While the ECI tracks employment costs within organizations, the PayScale Index tracks workers’ wages across various organizations. This means the PayScale Index will capture changes in employees’ wages when they are move to a different company, while the ECI does not. There is value in using both the ECI and the PayScale Index to determine relative wage growth in the U.S. economy.

To view the entire interactive Q3 2018 PayScale index which reflects wage trends across various industries, job categories, company sizes and major metros, including Canada, please visit:  For information about the methodology of the PayScale Index, please visit:

About PayScale:

As the industry leader in compensation data and technology, PayScale helps organizations #getpayright. PayScale is the only technology solution for managing compensation that provides multiple streams of fresh, transparently curated, and validated salary data. Combined with modeling engines that learn continuously and generate recommendations and insight, PayScale empowers HR to price jobs and adjust compensation to reflect near real-time changes in the market — all on one trusted data platform. With PayScale’s Adaptive Compensation Advantage, teams operate with efficiency, focused on outcomes rather than manual data management. To learn how companies like The Washington Post, Perry Ellis International, United Healthcare and The New York Times rely on PayScale to attract and retain top talent, engage employees and plan their future workforce, visit

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