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Is Employee Compensation on the Rise in Your Job Market?

October 3rd, 2012

If wages are any indication, the economic recovery appears to be improving somewhat, although still not all the way back.

In just about all job categories, pay increased in 2011. It was the largest increase since the beginning of the recession in 2007.

The data comes from the Pay Scale Index, which tracks pay for full-time workers in private industry. The Index focuses on jobs, according to PayScale’s head analyst, Katie Bardaro, which shows how the market values labor, and can help companies determine how their pay scale stacks up against competitors. Employers need to keep track of jobs where pay has been increasing so they don’t lose out in the competition for the best talent, Bardaro says.

Wages increased the most in Chicago, Miami, and Houston, according to the Index. Part of the reason for the increase is that these cities have a lot of industries where pay went up the most.

In Houston, because of its mix of industries, pay went up 2.2 percent overall, higher than the national average. Leading the way were the aeronautics, healthcare and energy industries. Prices have been going up at the pump, and while that is not such good news for the consumer, it is for people who work in the oil industry. With the strong price for gas, oil and gas companies are able to pay their employees more, Bardaro said.

Wages in Miami also increased. With a solid base in transportation and tourism, two industries that have bounced back more strongly from the recession, overall pay in the Magic City increased 1.8 percent.

Chicago, along with Seattle and Washington, D.C., showed pay increases in the information technology, engineering and biotechnology sectors, which are concentrated in these cities.

Closer to home, after three quarters of pretty much no growth, wages in the Riverside area finally started going up in the second quarter of 2012, according to the PayScale report.. A rise of 1.4 percent over the quarter pushed earnings up 0.3 percent year-over-year by quarter’s end – the highest annual wage growth for this metro area since mid-2009.

Nationwide, pay in the arts, entertainment and recreation industries also has bounced back reasonably well as people start spending a little more on these items, according to Bardaro.

Salaries in the oil, gas and utility industries went up the most as energy prices continued to rise.

But, as the economy began to recover, manufacturing also has been showing signs of life. During the recession, thousands of manufacturing jobs were lost. But that sector of the economy is beginning to recover. In 2011, this sector showed its largest quarter-to-quarter growth since 2008. Salaries, however, are still lagging a little, with only a 1.3 percent increase.

The highest pay scales were found in the science, biotech and transportation industries.

The science and biotech industries include jobs ranging from physicists to biochemists to crime scene investigators and even urban planners.

The healthcare industry continues to remain strong. It withstood the recession well, experiencing only a one percent drop in earnings during that time. As the economy continues to recover, wages are on the rise here again as well.

While all of this news is reason for optimism, Bardaro cautioned that there is still a way to go, since all of the increases were below the three percent rise that indicates a full economic recovery.

If you’d like more information on the going wage for positions at your company, contact Arrow Staffing. As an Inland Empire recruiting/staffing firm, it’s our job to know what competitive wages are for many different types of job sectors. Contact us today!

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