Local Pay Reports: Pace of U.S. Pay Gains Picks Up in June

Good news for American workers in June: The latest edition of the Glassdoor Local Pay Reports for June shows median base pay for full-time workers rose at the fastest pace in 2018, up 1.6 percent from a year ago to $52,052 per year. This continued pay growth is a likely sign that today’s 18-year-low unemployment rate is finally translating into broad-based wage gains.

The chart below shows how U.S. pay growth has fared over the last two years, according to salaries reported by job seekers on Glassdoor. The green line shows the steady upward growth in median base pay for full-time workers since January 2016. The blue line tracks the annual pace of pay growth during the same period, which slowed significantly in late 2017.

Wage growth has since recovered in 2018, along with the improving economy, with pay growth rising each month this year. June’s 1.6 percent pace is the fastest wage growth we’ve recorded since October 2017.

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

Pay Gains by Metro

Among metros, the fastest year-over-pay growth in June was in Philadelphia, where pay rose 2.7 percent to $55,646 per year. What’s behind this June surge in pay? Glassdoor data show a pick up in hiring for senior-level roles at healthcare and pharmaceutical companies for Philadelphia in June. Roles included chief technology officer, medical affairs director, medical manager, among others.

Although June was an unusually strong month for pay growth in Philadelphia, it does reflect the broader national trend in booming health care jobs and rising pay.

Other metros with strong pay gains in June include the fast-growing tech-hubs of San Francisco (up 2.6 percent to $69,655 per year) and Seattle (up 2.4 percent to $61,641 per year), as well as Los Angeles (up 2.4 percent to $60,637 per year). By contrast, the metros with the slowest pay gains in June include Chicago (up 1.5 percent to $56,447 per year), Atlanta (up 1.5 percent to $53,688 per year) and Boston (up 1.6 percent to $59,682 per year).

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

Area Median Base Pay YoY %
U.S. National $52,052 1.6%
Philadelphia $55,646 2.7%
San Francisco $69,655 2.6%
Seattle $61,641 2.4%
Los Angeles $60,637 2.4%
Washington D.C. $59,855 2.3%
New York City $61,741 2.2%
Houston $55,409 2.0%
Boston $59,682 1.6%
Atlanta $53,688 1.5%
Chicago $56,447 1.5%

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 June:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Bank Teller $31,108 8.1%
Truck Driver $54,659 7.3%
Warehouse Associate $43,961 6.8%
Design Engineer $72,261 5.5%
Material Handler $36,179 5.1%
Tax Manager $97,213 5.1%
Java Developer $77,096 5.0%
Cashier $28,017 4.9%
Retail Key Holder $29,746 4.9%
Security Officer $35,554 4.7%

There are several themes that stood out among the jobs with the fastest pay growth in June:

  • Many lower-paying roles are seeing strong pay gains today, such as retail key holder (4.9 percent to $29,746 per year), security officer (4.7 percent to $35,554 per year) and bank teller (8.1 percent to $31,108 per year). These are primarily roles that don’t require as many specialized skills and or advanced education. For years, slack in the labor market has helped hold down pay for these roles. But with the economy running hot, we’re finally starting to see raises for many lower-paying jobs.
  • The strong labor market for blue-collar roles in e-commerce continues: Warehouse associate (up 6.8 percent to $43,961 per year), material handler (5.1 percent to $36,179 per year) and truck driver (up 7.3 percent to $54,659 per year) all experienced rapid pay gains in June. These roles are the on-the-ground workers moving goods to people in today’s booming world of online shopping.
  • Tax manager experienced healthy pay gains in June (up 5.1 percent to $97,213 per year). In the wake of major federal tax policy that has sent companies and individuals scrambling to take full advantage of the new law, experienced tax experts remain in high demand today.

Lowest Pay-Growth Jobs

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

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Network Engineer $66,257 -3.7%
Loan Officer $43,988 -3.3%
Physical Therapist $72,080 -2.3%
Producer $51,702 -2.2%
Web Designer $50,738 -0.8%
Communications Manager $66,321 -0.7%
Project Manager $72,583 -0.6%
Data Scientist $94,912 -0.2%
UX Designer $77,134 -0.1%
Professor $87,664 -0.1%
  • Although pay for network engineer has been strong in recent months, average pay ticked down in June. This is due to a shift in the type of workers hired. We recorded a surge in hiring for IP network engineers — a telecom role paying between $15 and $30 per hour — and fewer tech network engineers, which earn much higher base pay of $90,000 to $140,000 per year. That pulled down median base pay for network engineers in June.  
  • Loan officer again experienced average pay declines in June, a trend we’ve observed throughout the past year. These roles are increasingly impacted by automation and self-serve web platforms, which has led to weak average pay gains in recent months.
  • Despite an overall boom in health care jobs, the market for physical therapist remained weak in June, with average pay down -2.3 percent to $72,080 per year. We’ve observed weak pay gains for physical therapist throughout the past year — one of the few health care jobs we track with below-average wage growth today.

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 June Local Pay Reports:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Pharmacist $128,311 3.0%
Solutions Architect $105,070 4.1%
Attorney $98,208 1.7%
Tax Manager $97,213 5.1%
Data Scientist $94,912 -0.2%
Product Manager $92,843 2.2%
Professor $87,664 -0.1%
Software Engineer $86,563 1.8%
Systems Engineer $79,432 1.9%
Process Engineer $77,839 0.3%

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

Lowest Paying Jobs

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

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Barista $24,358 3.5%
Cashier $28,017 4.9%
Restaurant Cook $28,681 1.2%
Certified Nursing Assistant $29,030 3.6%
Retail Key Holder $29,746 4.9%
Research Assistant $30,580 0.0%
Pharmacy Technician $30,780 2.3%
Bank Teller $31,108 8.1%
Bartender $33,499 4.6%
Server $33,747 2.6%

You can view the full list of highest and lowest paying jobs as of June 2018 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. This month, we expect to see 177,000 new jobs created and an unemployment rate steady at 3.8 percent in June. 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.