Local Pay Reports: Sluggish U.S. Pay Growth in November

December 5, 2017

The latest edition of the Glassdoor Local Pay Reports revealed sluggish pay growth in November, with median base pay for full-time workers up just 1.2 percent from a year ago to $51,059 per year. That’s down from last month’s revised 1.5 percent pace, and is less than half the 3.5 percent pace we recorded in January 2017 as pay growth has stagnated this year.

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

Pay Gains by Metro

Among the ten metros we track, the fastest pay growth in November was in the growing tech hub of Seattle, where median pay rose 2.1 percent year-over-year to $60,351 per year. This was followed by Los Angeles, where pay rose 2.0 percent to $59,638 per year, and San Francisco, where pay was up 1.9 percent from a year ago to $67,768 per year.

The nation’s slowest pay growth in November was recorded in Houston, which has consistently lagged behind the national average in wage gains this year. Median base pay in Houston was up just 0.3 percent from a year ago in November to $54,215 per year. This was followed by Philadelphia (+0.6 percent to $54,064 per year) and Washington, D.C. (+0.9 percent to $58,548 per year).

Estimates for November 2017 median base pay for all ten metros we track in our Local Pay Reports are available here.

Area Median Base Pay YoY %
U.S. National $51,059 1.2%
Seattle $60,351 2.1%
Los Angeles $59,638 2.0%
San Francisco $67,768 1.9%
Boston $58,350 1.8%
Atlanta $52,824 1.4%
Chicago $55,531 1.2%
New York City $60,091 1.1%
Washington DC $58,548 0.9%
Philadelphia $54,064 0.6%
Houston $54,215 0.3%

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 November:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Restaurant Cook $28,452 4.2%
Insurance Agent $41,636 4.1%
Medical Technologist $54,625 4.0%
Warehouse Associate $42,282 3.9%
Barista $24,563 3.8%
Truck Driver $52,945 3.8%
Web Designer $52,448 3.7%
Bank Teller $28,676 3.5%
Cashier $27,620 3.5%
Technical Support $45,424 3.1%

There are several themes that connect jobs with the fastest pay growth in November:

  • Several low-paying positions are among jobs seeing the biggest year-over-year percentage wage gains in November. Pay growth for food service roles, including restaurant cook (up 4.2 percent to $28,452) and barista (up 3.8 percent to $24,563), as well as bank teller (up 3.5 percent to $28,676) show today’s low-skill labor market may finally be tightening.
  • Holiday shopping and e-commerce growth continue to drive pay increases among retail roles. Brick-and-mortar positions such as cashiers (up 3.5 percent to $27,620) and store managers (up 2.9 percent to $48,388) saw significant pay growth over the last two months. Among online retailers, salaries are on the rise for warehouse associates (up 3.9 percent to $42,282), truck drivers (up 3.8 percent to $52,945), and delivery driver (up 3.0 percent to $37,907).
  • Rapid wage growth in health care continues, and that translated into pay rises in November for positions like medical technologist (up 4.0 percent to $54,625) and emergency medical technician (up 2.7 percent to $34,994). As of late November, there were more than 804,000 open jobs in the health care industry available nationally on Glassdoor.

Lowest Pay-Growth Jobs

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

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Bartender $30,822 -4.9%
Java Developer $71,379 -3.8%
Loan Officer $43,456 -3.7%
Maintenance Worker $39,544 -1.8%
Programmer Analyst $65,348 -1.6%
Machine Operator $38,633 -1.1%
Civil Engineer $65,977 -0.8%
Data Scientist $93,562 -0.4%
Office Manager $45,006 -0.4%
Quality Engineer $71,359 -0.4%

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 November Local Pay Reports:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Pharmacist $127,682 0.9%
Solutions Architect $101,469 -0.1%
Tax Manager $93,988 0.2%
Data Scientist $93,562 -0.4%
Attorney $93,019 0.4%
Product Manager $89,669 0.4%
Professor $86,849 0.1%
Software Engineer $85,618 1.7%
Systems Engineer $78,663 0.6%
Process Engineer $76,978 1.3%

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

Lowest Paying Jobs

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

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Barista $24,563 3.8%
Cashier $27,620 3.5%
Restaurant Cook $28,452 4.2%
Certified Nursing Assistant $28,493 1.6%
Bank Teller $28,676 3.5%
Retail Key Holder $28,693 0.7%
Pharmacy Technician $30,213 2.4%
Research Assistant $30,481 0.6%
Bartender $30,822 -4.9%
Server $32,553 1.9%

You can view the full list of highest and lowest paying jobs as of November 2017 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 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 171,000 new jobs and an unemployment rate down to 4.0 percent in November. 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.