The Impact of the Current Economy on Wage Growth

The Impact of the Current Economy on Wage Growth

PayScale is the only compensation technology company able to provide month-over-month and year-over-year analytics on wage growth during this rapidly changing crisis.

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The coronavirus pandemic has sent shockwaves through the American workforce and the repercussions are still being felt. Not all industries have been affected the same. Some are crashing while others are holding steady or even seeing a surge in demand.

The alarms bells of an impending recession are ringing, but until we have data on GDP growth and the labor market for two consecutive quarters, we can only speculate on the current state of the economy.

In this time, many employers are wondering how wages have been impacted by current events. Which industries, occupations and metro areas are most affected and to what degree? Should employers freeze wages, cancel bonuses, or cut pay? Should employees interacting with customers as part of essential business operations be compensated more? How do employees feel about all of this?

Compensation is essential to holding onto and motivating the remaining, critical workforce. Fresh and validated compensation data is therefore crucial to managing employee pay right now. It will be even more crucial in the months to come. Delayed hiring won’t last forever. Organizations with the most intelligence on the labor market will have the competitive edge when it comes to staffing for the future.

Fortunately, PayScale combines Crowdsourced and Company Sourced data to provide unparalleled insight and intelligence for compensation management. Our PayScale Index report, released quarterly, updates changes to wage growth in the labor market, but given the rapidly shifting situation, we are now providing wage growth data for recent months.

For analysis on wage data as the situation evolves, follow us on our blog: Compensation Today.

Weekly YOY Percent Wage Growth

This visualization shows how PayScale CrowdSource data YoY wage growth has changed each week. You can see how wages change by Industry, Occupation, Gender, Metro, and National averages.

Weekly YOY Employee SentiMent

This visualization shows how Employee Sentiment YoY has changed each week. You can see how respondents perceive their workplace culture by Industry, Occupation, and Nationally.

To filter to your industry or occupation, use the search box below (bottom left).

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How PayScale Can Help Employers Get Pay Right

PayScale is a compensation technology company dedicated to helping companies maximize the investment in their people. We bring together the power of technology, relevant compensation data, and professional services to help companies get pay right in any economic environment.

By The Numbers

  • 65 million total salary profiles forming the world’s largest compensation database.
  • 8,000 clients from SMBs to global enterprises in the Fortune 1000.
  • 10 million website visitors contributing 300,000 fresh salary records of Crowdsourced data each month that are verified for accuracy using algorithms and machine learning.
  • 1,900 employer participants in our Company Sourced data representing 5,500 jobs and 2.53 million employees across 28 industries.
  • 250 surveys available through traditional salary survey providers for best-in-class survey management.
  • 12 years of salary data going back to the Great Recession of 2007-2009.

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Wage Growth

Analysis on wage growth measures the rolling year-over-year percent change in median Total Cash Compensation (TCC) for a given data sample during the time period indicated.Total Cash Compensation: TCC combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or value of other non-cash benefits (e.g., healthcare).


Median Pay: The median pay is the national median (50th Percentile) total cash compensation (TCC). Half the people doing the job earn more than the median, while half earn less.

% Wage Growth Rate: The percent change in median TCC between two consecutive time periods. The time periods used are the two consecutive rolling years since the date of the latest profile.

Industry: Industries are defined using the NAICS standard.

Occupation: Occupations are defined using the O*NET standard.

Employee Sentiment Methodology

PayScale provides the rating scores and percent changes in employee/employer engagement question responses from PayScale’s online salary survey. This analysis includes profiles of respondents who answered one or more of the engagement sentiment questions. All questions are on or have been adapted to 5-point Likert-scale style responses:

Employer Satisfaction: : I am extremely satisfied working for my employer.

Employer Communication: There is frequent, two-way communication between management and myself.

Employer Bright Future: I am confident my employer has a bright future.

Employer Community: Interactions at my organization tend to be positive and productive.

Manager Relationship: I have a great relationship with my direct manager.

Job Satisfaction: How satisfied are you in your job? (5 – Extremely satisfied, 4 – Fairly satisfied, 3 – A little Satisfied, 2 – Dissatisfied, 1 – I hate my job)

Job Stress: How stressful is your job/work environment? (5 – Extremely stressful, 4 – Fairly stressful, 3 – A little stressful, 2 – Not stressful, 1 – My job is relaxing)

Job Meaning: Does your work make the world a better place? (5 – Very much so, 4 – Yes, 3 – A Little, 2 – No, 1 – My job makes the world a worse place)


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