Local Pay Reports: Median Pay Hits $51,975 Per Year in February

March 6, 2018

The latest edition of the Glassdoor Local Pay Reports shows median base pay in America reached an all-time high in February, at $51,975 per year for full-time workers. That’s according to the latest real-time salary data shared by job seekers during the past month on Glassdoor.

While Americans’ pay is rising, the pace of pay growth remains sluggish. In February, median base pay rose just 1.0 percent year-over-year. That’s up slightly from the 0.6 percent revised pace we recorded last month but is still down sharply from the peak 3.4 percent of January 2017.

The figure below shows the trend in U.S. pay since 2016 on Glassdoor. Pay has steadily risen over the past two years, as shown in the green line. However, the pace of pay raises slowed in mid-2017, as shown in the blue line. Over the past year, we’ve consistently recorded sluggish year-over-year U.S. pay growth, even as the overall U.S. labor market has improved.

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

Pay Gains by Metro

Among the ten metros we track, the fastest annual pay gains were in the tech hub of San Francisco, where median pay rose 3.1 percent to $69,276 per year. Wages in the San Francisco metro have consistently outpaced the national average over the past year. The next highest pay gains were in Washington, D.C. (up 1.9 percent to $59,780 per year), and New York City (up 1.8 percent to $61,857 per year).

The slowest pay growth among metros in February was Chicago, where pay was unchanged from one year ago at $56,304  per year. That’s the second month in a row pay in Chicago has lagged behind the U.S. average — a trend we’ll be watching closely for signs of a shifting labor market in that metro in the coming months. Other metros with below-average pay gains in February include Los Angeles (up 0.9 percent to $60,420 per year), and Seattle (up 1.0 percent to $61,576 per year).

One interesting trend is a sharp improvement in pay growth in Houston. During the past year, Houston has frequently ranked last among the 10 metros we track — largely due to weak oil prices hurting energy job growth in that region. As oil prices have rebounded in early 2018, average pay growth in Houston has surged to the middle of the pack among metros in February, rising by 1.3 percent year-over-year.

Here’s a list of median base pay for all ten metros we track in our Local Pay Reports for February 2018:

Area Median Base Pay YoY %
National $51,975 1.0%
San Francisco $69,276 3.1%
Washington DC $59,780 1.9%
New York City $61,857 1.8%
Atlanta $53,870 1.7%
Houston $55,621 1.3%
Philadelphia $55,512 1.2%
Boston $59,363 1.1%
Seattle $61,576 1.0%
Los Angeles $60,420 0.9%
Chicago $56,304 0.0%

Jobs with the Fastest Pay Growth

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

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Delivery Driver $43,771 5.4%
Restaurant Cook $29,034 4.6%
Financial Advisor $54,906 4.4%
Truck Driver $53,932 4.4%
Bank Teller $29,398 4.1%
Medical Technologist $54,582 3.9%
Network Engineer $71,103 3.6%
Attorney $99,270 3.4%
Web Developer $65,013 3.2%
Field Engineer $71,805 3.0%
  • Jobs in healthcare and e-commerce continued to post strong pay gains in February, with pay rising sharply for medical technologist (up 3.9 percent to $54,582 per year), and delivery driver (up 5.4 percent to $43,771 per year).
  • Among jobs with the fastest pay growth in February, financial advisor roles are seeing wage gains above the national average, up 4.4 percent to $54,906 per year — just as financial institutions gear up for the looming tax season.
  • More traditional tech roles are seeing above average pay growth, including network engineer (up 3.6 percent to $71,103 per year), web developer (up 3.2 percent to $65,013 per year) and web designer (up 2.7 percent to $51,709 per year).

Lowest Pay-Growth Jobs

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

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Bartender $29,969 -6.8%
Professor $87,067 -2.9%
Maintenance Worker $39,490 -2.4%
Quality Engineer $70,485 -2.0%
Insurance Agent $42,321 -1.5%
Communications Manager $66,738 -1.4%
Research Assistant $30,382 -1.1%
Loan Officer $45,520 -1.1%
UX Designer $75,774 -1.0%
Programmer Analyst $68,774 -0.8%

The biggest declines in year-over-year pay growth in February included bartender (down 6.8 percent to $29,969), professor (down 2.9 percent to $87,067), maintenance worker (down 2.4 percent to $39,490) and quality engineer (down 2.0 percent to $70,485).

While all pay growth is the result of both supply and demand for workers, these jobs offer clues about remaining pockets of weakness even in today’s strong overall 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 February Local Pay Reports:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Pharmacist $127,457 1.3%
Solutions Architect $102,053 0.3%
Attorney $99,270 3.4%
Data Scientist $96,337 0.9%
Tax Manager $95,582 0.4%
Product Manager $92,146 1.4%
Professor $87,067 -2.9%
Software Engineer $85,775 1.3%
Systems Engineer $79,005 1.3%
Program Manager $77,442 0.2%

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

Lowest Paying Jobs

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

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Barista $25,068 2.9%
Cashier $27,335 2.4%
Retail Key Holder $28,977 0.8%
Certified Nursing Assistant $28,979 1.3%
Restaurant Cook $29,034 4.6%
Bank Teller $29,398 4.1%
Bartender $29,969 -6.8%
Research Assistant $30,382 -1.1%
Pharmacy Technician $30,678 2.5%
Server $33,082 1.6%

You can view the full list of highest and lowest paying jobs as of February 2018 here.

Read more about this month’s report in our press release.

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 healthcare, 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. This month, we expect to see +186,000 new jobs and an unemployment rate at 4.0 percent in February. 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.