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.

National Wage Growth, Q3 2019

since last quarter
year over year
since 2006

Highlights Q3 2019

San Francisco and Seattle had the strongest nominal wage growth (4.3 percent and 4.0 percent Y/Y, respectively). On the other hand, Houston experienced the weakest growth (-0.6 percent Q/Q and just 0.5 percent Y/Y).

The arts, entertainment & recreation industry posts considerable nominal wage growth (3.4 percent Y/Y and 1.2 percent Q/Q). Conversely, the manufacturing industry grew a meager 0.4 percent Q/Q and 2.3 percent Y/Y.

Wages for transportation jobs grew an impressive 2.9 percent Q/Q and now post 4.9 percent Y/Y. Information technology and marketing and advertising jobs posted nominal wage growth of 3.2 percent and 2.9 percent Y/Y, respectively.

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Real Wage Index

Since 2006, wages have risen 15.1 percent overall in the U.S. But when you factor in inflation, “real wages” have actually fallen 9.6 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, Q3 2019

since last quarter
year over year
since 2006

The PayScale Index: Real Wage Index (US)

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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.

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