Local Pay Reports: Pay Growth Tops 2.6 Percent in September

Strong wage growth for American workers is the theme for September.

The latest Glassdoor Local Pay Report revealed that median base pay for full-time workers increased to $52,664 per year in September, a 2.6 percent increase over last year. That’s up from last month’s revised pay growth of 2.5 percent and marks the fastest pay growth since April 2017 — a strong indicator of a healthy labor market driving higher wages to attract an increasingly scarce supply of workers.

The robust upward trajectory in pay seen on Glassdoor is evident in the chart below. The green line shows the steady rise in median base pay since January 2016. The blue line shows that the annual year-over-year percentage pay growth has accelerated for seven consecutive months since March 2018.

Despite a lull in early 2018, pay growth is accelerating amid a healthy job market with no signs of slowing down through the rest of the year.

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

Pay Gains by Metro

The major tech hub of San Francisco was again the metro with the fastest annual pay growth. Median base pay rose 3.9 percent to $70,361 per year for workers in San Francisco, higher than any other U.S. metro we track. It was followed by New York City (up 3 percent to $62,761 per year), Los Angeles (up 2.9 percent to $61,507 per year) and Philadelphia (up 2.8 percent to $56,206 per year).

The Houston metro area recorded the slowest median base pay growth amongst U.S. metro areas at 1.7 percent up to $55,722 per year. Washington, D.C. (up 1.9 percent to $60,535 per year) and Boston (up 2.0 percent to $60,038 per year) rounded out the bottom three metros. While all three metros experienced positive pay growth, each saw growth well below the national average.

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

Area Median Base Pay YoY %
U.S. National $52,664 2.6%
San Francisco $70,361 3.9%
New York City $62,761 3.0%
Los Angeles $61,507 2.9%
Philadelphia $56,206 2.8%
Chicago $56,934 2.8%
Seattle $62,254 2.7%
Atlanta $54,329 2.3%
Boston $60,038 2.0%
Washington DC $60,535 1.9%
Houston $55,722 1.7%

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 September:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Maintenance Worker $42,079 8.2%
Financial Advisor $55,242 7.5%
Bank Teller $30,872 7.5%
Pharmacy Technician $32,524 6.8%
Bartender $34,514 6.6%
Property Manager $53,276 6.1%
Loan Officer $47,479 6.1%
Restaurant Cook $29,404 5.8%
Emergency Medical Technician $35,842 5.7%
Programmer Analyst $69,585 5.5%

There are several themes that stood out in the September report:

  • Pharmacy technicians and emergency medical technicians experienced strong wage growth this month, more than twice the national average. Lower wage health care roles like these are heavily focused on human interaction with patients, making them more resistant to automation than other industries. Health care employment remains highly in demand overall, as the aging U.S. population requires more health care services.
  • Lower-wage roles like bartender, restaurant cook and bank teller continue to see rising annual wage growth, a likely result of worker shortages coupled with the minimum wage increases seen across 20 states (and D.C.) in the last year. Glassdoor research has also shown raising the tipped minimum wage may also help boost wages for service workers.
  • Property managers saw stronger wage gains this month, as rental supply expands to meet high renter demand and both long- and short-term rental property owners seek managers to maintain these properties, driving up wages.
  • Jobs in financial services like financial advisor, bank teller and loan officer also saw wage gains. A stronger stock market and improving economic conditions for Americans is increasing demand for an array of financial services from financial advice to mortgages.

Lowest Pay-Growth Jobs

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

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Insurance Agent $39,008 -7.2%
Project Manager $70,412 -3.7%
Warehouse Associate $40,325 -2.7%
Physical Therapist $73,649 -1.8%
Producer $50,450 -1.8%
Professor $85,966 -0.6%
Program Manager $74,066 -0.5%
Field Engineer $69,249 -0.1%
Recruiter $51,243 0.0%
Restaurant Manager $49,894 0.0%

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 September Local Pay Reports:

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Pharmacist $125,347 1.6%
Solutions Architect $102,216 0.6%
Attorney $98,916 5.0%
Data Scientist $97,194 1.2%
Product Manager $93,748 3.6%
Tax Manager $91,276 0.1%
Software Engineer $87,790 3.3%
Professor $85,966 -0.6%
IT Manager $83,993 4.5%
Process Engineer $79,949 3.3%

Once again, three fields dominated the highest paying jobs in September: 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 September Local Pay Reports.

Lowest Paying Jobs

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

Job Title Median Base Pay YoY %
Barista $25,095 5.4%
Cashier $28,146 5.1%
Certified Nursing Assistant $29,314 4.1%
Restaurant Cook $29,404 5.8%
Retail Key Holder $29,902 2.9%
Research Assistant $30,156 0.7%
Bank Teller $30,872 7.5%
Pharmacy Technician $32,524 6.8%
Medical Assistant $33,273 2.8%
Server $33,617 2.6%

You can view the full list of highest and lowest paying jobs as of September 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. Note: Starting with the September 2018 report, we will report on “IT Manager” instead of “Network Engineer” to more accurately reflect pay trends in the technology industry.

Monthly Jobs Report Expectations

The latest jobs report from the federal government is due out on Friday. This month, we expect to see 162,000 new jobs created and an unemployment rate down slightly to 3.8 percent in September. 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 the Glassdoor Economic Research team about this month’s report, email pr@glassdoor.com.