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, Q4 2018


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 Q4, 2018

Trends by City

San Francisco saw the largest gains; San Jose remains strong; San Diego had slight gains.

Trends by Industry

The technology sector tops our list of nominal wage growth by industries, with nominal wages growing 1.2 percent Q/Q and 2.7 percent Y/Y. In real estate, nominal wages grew 1.0 percent Q/Q and 2.4 percent Y/Y. In finance & insurance, nominal wages grew 1.3 percent Q/Q and 2.4 percent Y/Y.

Trends by Job Category

Marketing & advertising jobs continue to post impressive wage growth. Nominal wages grew 1.5 percent Q/Q and 5.5 percent Y/Y. Blue collar jobs had positive Q/Q nominal wage growth, but negative wage growth for the year. Manufacturing and transportation jobs had the biggest losses.

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Real Wage Index

Since 2006, wages have risen 14 percent overall in the US. 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, Q4 2018


since last quarter


year over year


since 2006


The PayScale Index: Real Wage Index (US)20172018% Change Since 2006-10.0%-9.7%-9.4%-9.1%-8.8%-8.5%-8.2%-7.9%-7.6%-7.3%) 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.