Local Pay Reports: U.S. Pay Growth Dips Slightly in December

January 3, 2017

The latest edition of the Glassdoor Local Pay Reports shows U.S. median base pay growth slowed slightly to 2.7 percent year over year in December to $51,750. That’s a dip from the 3.1 percent pay growth recorded last month.

Pay Gains by Metro

Among metros, the fastest year-over-year growth in median base pay in December was in Chicago at 4.0 percent to $56,635. That compares to 3.1 percent pay growth last month.

While Chicago’s year-over-year growth rate is up compared to November, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City all saw year-over-year growth rates decline compared to last month. However, each still remains above the national average (2.7 percent) for December.

San Francisco median base pay is up 3.7 percent to $65,379 (down from 4.0 percent last month), Los Angeles follows with 3.4 percent year-over-year growth to $59,260 (down from 4.3 percent last month), and New York City is slightly above the U.S. average at 2.9 percent growth to $60,448 (down from 3.3 percent last month).

Houston had the slowest year-over-year growth in median base pay in December at 1.9 percent to $54,836, although this marks a slight uptick from 1.0 percent last month.

You can view the complete Glassdoor Local Pay Reports for December 2016 here.

Highest and Lowest Paying Jobs

A key advantage of the Glassdoor Local Pay Reports compared to most government data is that we’re able to show wage growth for easy-to-understand job titles that reflect today’s labor market—rather than the vague and often outdated occupational groups used by the BLS. That allows job seekers to see what job titles are paying best today, and directly search for openings in those same job titles.

In December, the nation’s highest median base pay was found among five key job titles in Glassdoor salary data: physician ($202,395 per year), product manager ($94,391 per year), attorney ($93,453 per year), data scientist ($92,379), and professor ($91,514).

By contrast, the lowest U.S. median base pay in December was found in the following five job titles: bank teller ($27,754 per year), cashier ($28,787 per year), restaurant cook ($29,797 per year), pharmacy technician ($31,290 per year) and retail key holder ($32,264 per year).

Jobs with the Biggest Pay Raises

Jobs that are highest paying aren’t always where we see biggest growth. Glassdoor’s Local Pay Reports also offer insight into which jobs are growing fastest in terms of pay.

In December, the five jobs with the biggest year-over-year pay growth in the U.S. are: construction laborer (9.4 percent to $38,321), machine operator (7.6 percent to $38,558), customer service manager (7.4 percent to $50,526), warehouse associate (7.2 percent to $43,609), and recruiter (6.7 percent to $51,833).

Many are blue-collar jobs where demand continues to be high, driving up wages. In the white-collar sector, customer service managers and recruiters are seeing big wage gains likely due to many companies ramping up hiring and sales efforts as 2017 approaches.

The five jobs that saw biggest declines in pay compared to last year are: quality engineer (-2.9 percent to $73,338), communications manager (-1.7 percent to $65,954), professor (-1.4 percent to $91,514), mechanical engineer (-1.3 percent to $74,025), and medical technologist (-1.2 percent to $52,802).

How Does it Work?

Like the new tool Know Your Worth by Glassdoor, Local Pay Reports incorporate millions of salaries directly collected from U.S. workers by Glassdoor and apply a proprietary machine-learning algorithm to estimate trends in local pay.

The Local Pay Reports estimate year-over-year growth in median base salaries by job title for more than 60 jobs across more than 15 job categories including education, technology, retail and more. The reports also estimate median base pay by industry and employer size, and provide a monthly trend of metro-level median base pay for each local market over the past four years.

Our new Local Pay Reports fill an important gap in our knowledge about wage growth at the local level for specific jobs. Official BLS “Occupational Employment Statistics” are updated only once per year, and use broad occupational groupings that can be confusing for job seekers. Local Pay Reports are released monthly—using the latest data from Glassdoor—and show pay for actual job titles that are easy for non-economists to understand.

Monthly Jobs Report Expectations

The latest jobs report from the federal government is due out on Friday. This month, we expect to see 166,000 new jobs added in December and a largely unchanged 4.7 percent unemployment rate. See our full analysis for more commentary and predictions here.

To learn more or subscribe to the monthly email alerts, visit: https://www.glassdoor.com/research/. The Glassdoor Local Pay Reports can be found here: https://www.glassdoor.com/research/local-pay-reports/.

Press inquiries: To speak with Dr. Andrew Chamberlain about this month’s report, email pr@glassdoor.com. Follow him on Twitter: @adchamberlain.