PayScale Index Shows Wages Struggling to Keep Pace With Inflation Across the U.S.
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PayScale Index Shows Wages Struggling to Keep Pace With Inflation Across the U.S.

San Diego and San Francisco come out on top. Miami, Detroit and Cincinnati lose out.

Seattle, WA – April 10, 2018 – Today, PayScale Inc, the leader in cloud compensation data and software for businesses and individuals, released the Q1 2018 PayScale Index, which tracks quarterly and annual trends in compensation and provides a U.S. wage forecast for the coming quarter.

The Q1 2018 index showed wages experienced uneven growth across the U.S. Wages saw nominal growth of 2.5 percent year-over-year nationally while real wages only increased 0.4 percent for the year ending Q1 2018, after factoring in inflation. Workers are still feeling the aftershocks of the Great Recession as they continue to earn far less in “real wages” than they did before the economic crisis.

“With a stronger economy, we are continuing to see low unemployment and rising inflation,” said Katie Bardaro, Vice President of Data Analytics and Chief Economist at PayScale. “Which means the somewhat muted wage growth in Q1 did not meaningfully improve real wages for many in today’s workforce. Real wages continue to be down by more than 7 percent for the typical private industry full-time worker. This means that although numbers on paychecks are increasing, the buying power of those paychecks still remains below pre-recession levels.”

Here are the key findings from the Q1 2018 PayScale Index:

  • With 4.3 percent nominal grown, San Diego posted the strongest Y/Y numbers. San Francisco was not too far behind, though, with 4.1 percent growth.
  • Miami, Detroit and Cincinnati all posted 1.3 percent Y/Y growth. However, these metros had very different growth between Q4 2017 and Q1 2018. Nominal wages in Miami grew by 0.5 percent, while they shrunk by 0.3 percent in Detroit.
  • Transportation & Warehousing and Real Estate are the industries with the strongest nominal wage growth. Energy & Utilities lags.
    • Transportation & Warehousing posted the largest Y/Y nominal growth numbers, 4.1 percent. Real Estate was not far behind as nominal wages jumped 4.0 percent.
    • The Energy & Utilities industry had the slowest nominal wage growth. Not only did wages grow only 1.5 percent Y/Y, they were unchanged from last quarter.
  • Manufacturing & Production jobs are ramping up.
    • At 5.0 percent, Manufacturing & Production jobs saw the largest Y/Y nominal wage growth by far.
    • Marketing & Advertising jobs continue to see considerable growth at 4.5 percent Y/Y. Installation, Maintenance & Repair jobs along with Construction jobs posted 4.5 percent upticks in Y/Y nominal wage growth.
    • Social Service jobs has the slowest Y/Y nominal growth rates, posting only 1.6 percent growth, and shrunk 0.6 percent relative to last quarter.

To view the entire interactive Q1 2018 PayScale index which reflects wage trends across various industries, job categories, company sizes and major metros, including Canada, 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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