Local Pay Reports: Pay Growth Edges Up 1.2 Percent in July

August 1, 2017

The latest edition of Glassdoor’s Local Pay Reports revealed a continued slowing trend in American’s paychecks. According to salaries reported online on Glassdoor, U.S. median base pay fell slightly to $51,120 per year in July, growing at a lackluster pace of 1.2 percent from one year ago — the slowest pace in three years.

Our July report marks the sixth consecutive month we’ve seen declining year-over-year pay growth. Despite the nation’s low unemployment rate and strong monthly job gains, wage growth has stagnated in 2017 both in BLS and Glassdoor salary data. July’s 1.2 percent year-over-year pay growth is less than half of the 3.1 percent pace recorded in January.

Winners and Losers

Today’s slow pace of U.S. wage growth is worrisome in an economy near full employment. The labor market is generally in good health, adding an average of 180,000 jobs per month so far this year and a 4.4 percent unemployment rate.

But the absence of across-the-board wage gains means prosperity today is not being as widely shared among U.S. workers as in previous years. While pay is rising fast at the top and bottom of the income scale, the July Local Pay Reports show many middle-skill jobs are suffering from historically weak wage growth.

Beneath the nation’s overall average pay gains, there is a lot of hidden diversity in the wage picture in America today. Some jobs — in some metro areas — are experiencing robust annual pay gains, while others are seeing wages that are flat or declining on a year-over-year basis.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on with pay in July.

Pay Gains by Metro

Among the ten metros we track, the fastest average pay gains in July were in Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City.

Boston’s median base pay rose by 1.9 percent year-over-year in July to $58,531 per year. They are followed by tech and finance hubs in San Francisco (up 1.8 percent to $67,826 per year), Seattle (up 1.8 percent to $59,879 per year), and New York City (up 1.5 percent to $60,405 per year).

The slowest median base pay growth was in energy-rich Houston, which saw median base pay decline by -0.1 percent from one year ago in July, down to $54,352 per year. They’re followed by Los Angeles (up 0.5 percent to $59,064), Washington D.C. (up 0.9 percent to $58,453 per year), and Atlanta (up 0.9 percent to $52,921 per year).

You can view our full Local Pay Reports for all ten metros for July 2017 here.

Area Median Base Pay YoY %
U.S. National $51,120 1.2%
Boston $58,531 1.9%
San Francisco $67,826 1.8%
Seattle $59,879 1.8%
New York City $60,405 1.5%
Philadelphia $54,210 1.3%
Chicago $55,252 1.0%
Atlanta $52,921 0.9%
Washington DC $58,453 0.9%
Los Angeles $59,064 0.5%
Houston $54,352 -0.1%

Jobs with the Fastest Pay Growth

Among the nearly 85 job titles we track each month, here are the top ten jobs with the fastest growth in U.S. median base pay from one year ago in July:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Recruiter $51,050 6.5%
Barista $24,336 6.4%
Restaurant Cook $28,696 5.8%
Bank Teller $28,758 5.3%
Claims Adjuster $51,220 4.8%
Truck Driver $51,351 4.3%
Delivery Driver $38,680 4.3%
Pharmacy Technician $30,543 3.9%
Warehouse Associate $40,811 3.7%
Construction Laborer $39,945 3.7%

There are several themes in the July report:

  • First, pay gains were once again strong for recruiters; with the economy near full employment, employers are relying more on passive job candidates, putting recruiters in high demand.
  • Second, wage growth for baristas and restaurant cooks was well above the national average, likely reflecting several state and local minimum wage increases that went into in 2017.
  • Finally, construction laborers saw wages rise at a strong 3.7 percent year-over-year in July, likely reflecting strong demand in the housing sector this summer.

Lowest Pay-Growth Jobs

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

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Operations Analyst $52,103 -3.0%
Attorney $93,899 -2.3%
Field Engineer $67,518 -2.1%
Pharmacist $124,443 -1.8%
Financial Advisor $52,394 -1.4%
Design Engineer $70,777 -1.3%
Loan Officer $45,341 -1.3%
Physical Therapist $73,945 -0.9%
Buyer $57,299 -0.5%
Office Manager $45,790 -0.5%

Among jobs with weak pay growth, there are several trends in July:

  • Many jobs like operations analyst, loan officer and office manager are facing pressure from growing software and automation. Employers today are relying more on apps, software and self-service web portals for many of the routine tasks traditionally done by these workers.
  • Continued weakness in manufacturing hiring is evident in weak wage gains for design engineers. This has traditionally been a core “white collar” manufacturing role, and this shows manufacturing weakness is being felt broadly across both high- and low-skill manufacturing jobs.
  • Retail buyer has traditionally been a relatively stable middle-class retail role. But weak pay growth in July likely reflects broader weakness in the brick-and-mortar retail sector, as growing use of machine learning and inventory automation are reducing the need for manually curated product offerings.

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 July Local Pay Reports:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Pharmacist $124,443 -1.8%
Solutions Architect $101,456 0.5%
Data Scientist $95,217 2.0%
Attorney $93,899 -2.3%
Tax Manager $91,317 -0.4%
Product Manager $90,431 1.6%
Professor $86,023 0.9%
Software Engineer $85,380 2.2%
Systems Engineer $77,545 2.1%
UX Designer $77,463 1.2%

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

Lowest Paying Jobs

Here is a list of the ten lowest paying jobs in the July Local Pay Reports:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Barista $24,336 6.4%
Cashier $27,504 3.4%
Certified Nursing Assistant $28,001 2.9%
Restaurant Cook $28,696 5.8%
Bank Teller $28,758 5.3%
Retail Key Holder $28,812 -0.3%
Research Assistant $30,430 1.6%
Pharmacy Technician $30,543 3.9%
Bartender $32,166 1.2%
Medical Assistant $32,992 0.9%

You can view the full list of highest and lowest paying jobs as of July 2017

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 nearly 85 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 144,000 new jobs and an unemployment rate steady at 4.4 percent in July. 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.