National (US) Pay Trends


The PayScale Index follows the change in wages of employed U.S. workers, revealing trends in compensation for jobs over time. It specifically measures the quarterly change in the total cash compensation of full-time, private industry employees and education professionals nationally, with additional detail on the 32 largest metropolitan areas, 15 industries, 19 job categories and three company sizes.

Wage Growth, Q1 2019


since last quarter


year over year


since 2006


The PayScale Index: National (US)20172018% Change Since 200610.0%10.4%10.8%11.2%11.6%12.0%12.4%12.8%13.2%13.6%14.0%) National© 2019 PayScale, Inc.

Highlights Q1, 2019

Trends by City

Nominal wage growth is uneven across cities. Tech hubs such as Seattle and San Francisco continued to thrive. Meanwhile, nominal wages fell over the last year in Charlotte, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Houston.

Trends by Industry

The agencies & consultancies and finance & insurance industries have solid growth. The accommodation & food services industry had notably negative growth.

Trends by Job Category

Accounting & finance and marketing & advertising jobs had Y/Y nominal wage growth of over 2.5 percent.  Both transportation and manufacturing & production jobs had -4.8 percent Y/Y nominal wage growth. 

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Real Wage Index

Since 2006, wages have risen 13.9 percent overall in the U.S. But when you factor in inflation, “real wages” have actually fallen 9 percent. In other words, the income for a typical worker today buys them less than it did in 2006. The PayScale Real Wage Index incorporates the Consumer Price Index (CPI) into The PayScale Index (which tracks nominal wages) and looks at the buying power of wages for full-time private industry workers in the U.S.

Real Wage Growth, Q1 2019


since last quarter


year over year


since 2006


The PayScale Index: Real Wage Index (US)20172018% Change Since 2006-11.0%-10.7%-10.4%-10.1%-9.8%-9.5%-9.2%-8.9%-8.6%-8.3%) Real Wage Index© 2019 PayScale, Inc.

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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 and education professionals 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.