Local Pay Reports: Pay Growth Steady At 2.3 Percent In January

Wage growth has started 2019 at a healthy pace, sustaining the positive trend seen in 2018.

The latest edition of the Glassdoor Local Pay Reports shows that median base pay for full-time workers increased to $52,964 per year in January, up 2.3 percent from last year. The positive wage growth we see is consistent with the increasingly tight labor market, where employers are continuing to raise wages to attract scarce workers. Despite pay growth year-over-year, the level of pay has held steady since our December 2018 report last month. The slight deceleration in pay growth from last year may be a sign that economic uncertainty from the longest-ever government shutdown, rising interest rates and trade headwinds is moderating pay gains in an otherwise strong labor market.

As pay growth gets off to a solid start in 2019, we will be watching closely to see if economic headwinds abate and pay growth for American workers begins accelerating.

Source: Glassdoor.com/research.

Let’s take a closer look at what happened in January with U.S. salaries on Glassdoor.

Pay Gains by Metro

Tech hub San Francisco saw the fastest annual pay growth for the sixth month in a row, with median base pay rising 3.6 percent to $71,980 per year, higher than any other U.S. metro we track. It was followed by Philadelphia (up 3.1 percent to $56,645 per year), New York City (up 3.0 percent to $63,655 per year) and Los Angeles (up 2.9 percent to $62,172 per year).

The Houston metro area grew the slowest amongst U.S. metro areas at 1.2 percent, up to $56,025 per year. Chicago (up 2.4 percent to $57,436 per year) and Atlanta (up 2.6 percent to $55,148 per year) rounded out the bottom three metros.

Here’s a list of median base pay and growth for all 10 metros in our January 2019 Local Pay Reports:

Area Median Base Pay YoY %
U.S. National $52,964 2.3%
San Francisco $71,980 3.6%
Philadelphia $56,645 3.1%
New York City $63,655 3.0%
Los Angeles $62,172 2.9%
Seattle $62,808 2.7%
Boston $61,011 2.7%
Washington, D.C. $61,381 2.6%
Atlanta $55,148 2.6%
Chicago $57,436 2.4%
Houston $56,025 1.2%

Jobs with the Fastest Pay Growth

Among the 84 job titles we track each month, here are the 10 jobs with the fastest growth in median base pay for full-time U.S. workers from one year ago in January:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Bank Teller $31,726 8.7%
Truck Driver $56,005 7.1%
Pharmacy Technician $30,977 6.1%
Cashier $28,212 5.8%
Security Officer $38,451 5.3%
Bartender $33,169 4.9%
Solutions Architect $105,692 4.8%
Property Manager $52,949 4.7%
Java Developer $78,469 4.2%
Office Manager $47,562 4.1%

There are several themes that stood out in the January 2019 Local Pay Report:

  • The government shutdown reached record-lengths in January. Glassdoor research shows that the shutdown took its a toll on the federal workforce, increasing the number of federal workers looking for other jobs by 10 percent and decreasing job applications to affected agencies by 46 percent. However, pay growth for Washington, D.C. held steady at 2.6 percent, a small increase over the 2.4 percent recorded in December. Glassdoor data is resistant to short-term disruptions like the government shutdown because it focuses on annual pay and we expect that the end of the shutdown and back pay for government workers will result in consistent annual wage growth.
  • Glassdoor’s Best Job in America for 2019 is data scientist for the 4th year in a row, but should aspiring data scientists be concerned that annual wage growth is only 0.5 percent? Not necessarily—data scientists are already one of the highest-paying jobs in the U.S. with a median annual base pay of $96,959. A 0.5 percent increase still corresponds to a healthy $4,500 annual raise. Three other jobs featured on the Best Jobs in America list that have strong pay growth above 4 percent in January were solutions architect, Java developer and office manager.
  • Low-wage jobs like bank tellers, cashiers and bartenders are seeing strong annual pay growth. In 2018, the minimum wage increased in 21 states and D.C. and in 2019, the same number is expected to increase their minimum wages again. As political pressure mounts, we expect this trend in pay growth for low-wage jobs to continue.

Lowest Pay-Growth Jobs

Here are the 10 jobs with the lowest wage growth in January, compared to one year ago:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Loan Officer $43,244 -7.6%
Project Manager $68,993 -6.0%
Insurance Agent $42,962 -1.0%
Producer $52,385 -0.3%
Design Engineer $72,582 -0.2%
Web Designer $53,919 0.3%
Data Scientist $96,959 0.5%
Sales Manager $61,455 0.5%
Process Engineer $78,605 0.7%
Medical Technologist $54,588 0.9%

While all pay growth is the result of both supply and demand for workers, these jobs offer useful clues about where any remaining pockets of weakness are in today’s otherwise strong labor market.

Highest Paying Jobs

Jobs with the highest pay growth aren’t always the ones with the highest earning potential. Here are the jobs with the highest U.S. median base pay from our January Local Pay Reports:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Pharmacist $128,166 1.1%
Solutions Architect $105,692 4.8%
Attorney $98,200 1.3%
Data Scientist $96,959 0.5%
Tax Manager $95,025 3.0%
Product Manager $94,773 3.1%
Professor $88,704 2.2%
Software Engineer $88,106 3.0%
IT Manager $82,837 2.8%
Systems Engineer $80,975 3.2%

Once again, three fields dominated the highest paying jobs in January: Health care, tech and professional services. Pharmacist, solutions architect, attorney and data scientist topped our list as the jobs with the highest U.S. median base pay in the January Local Pay Reports.

Lowest Paying Jobs

Finally, here is a list of the 10 lowest paying jobs in the January Local Pay Reports:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Barista $25,754 3.8%
Cashier $28,212 5.8%
Restaurant Cook $28,942 1.7%
Certified Nursing Assistant $29,314 3.0%
Retail Key Holder $29,472 2.2%
Research Assistant $30,106 1.8%
Pharmacy Technician $30,977 6.1%
Bank Teller $31,726 8.7%
Bartender $33,169 4.9%
Medical Assistant $33,449 1.4%

You can view the full list of highest and lowest paying jobs as of January 2019 here.

How Does it Work?

Like the Know Your Worth tool 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 near-real-time trends in local pay for ten U.S. metros and the nation as a whole.

The Local Pay Reports estimate year-over-year growth in median base salaries by job title for 84 jobs across more than 15 job categories including health care, 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 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.

Read more in our full methodology and FAQs.

Monthly Jobs Report Expectations

The latest jobs report from the federal government is due out on Friday. How will the ongoing shutdown be reflected in the latest jobs report? Our team breaks it down on what we might expect 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 the Glassdoor Economic Research team about this month’s report, email pr@glassdoor.com.