PayScale Q4 Index Shows Real Wages Continued To Decline in 2018

The most recent Q4 Index revealed nominal wages increased 1.1 percent since Q3 and 1.0 percent year over year. However, this small grown in nominal wages wasn’t enough to boost real wages for the year. Due to high inflation, real wages fell by 1.3 percent year over year. That means that while the number on employees’ paychecks increased, the buying power of their earnings declined.

Strongest Growth Seen on West Coast

West Coast metro areas rounded out the top five growth markets in Q4 2018. Once again, San Francisco experienced the largest increase in wages, showing a 4.9 percent increase since last year. San Jose, home to Silicon Valley, showed a 3.3 percent increase over last year. Farther south, San Diego had a 3.0 percent increase year over year. The Pacific Northwest anchor cities of Portland and Seattle also experienced notable year over year growth of 2.6 and 2.2 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Detroit and Nashville were the only two cities on the list that took a hit, experiencing negative year over year growth of -0.6 and -0.7, respectively.

Blue-Collar Jobs, Including Manufacturing and Transportation, Fell Last Year

The greatest year over year wage decreases were seen in the transportation and manufacturing industries. Transportation experienced year over year negative growth of  -3.9 percent, while manufacturing experienced year over year negative growth of -2.4 percent.

Other industries that experienced a year over year decline were Energy & Utilities (-0.6 percent), Construction (-0.6 percent), and Transportation & Warehousing industries (-0.7 percent).

The Technology Industry and Marketing Jobs Continue Trend of Positive Wage Growth

In contrast to blue collar jobs, white collar jobs showed marked increases over Q4 2017.

Once again, the tech sector maintained its top spot among industry growth, demonstrating a 2.7 percent increase year over year. Marketing and Advertising jobs continued showing positive year over year wage growth with a rise of 5.5 percent.

Additionally, both the Real Estate and Finance & Insurance experienced year over year wage increases. Despite fears of a bubble, Real Estate experienced a 2.4 percent increase over Q4 2017. Finance & Insurance also showed an equally impressive increase of 2.4 year over year.

About The PAyScale Index

The PayScale Index tracks quarterly and annual trends in compensation, and breaks it down by industry, metro area, job category, company size and occupation. For more information about wages in your market, check out it at