Seattle Area Wages Grow 4.8% in 2012 for Nation's Strongest Increase

 
 

Seattle topped the nation in wage growth, tying Houston, but beating Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Wages in Seattle in the fourth quarter of 2012 were up 4.8 percent from the same period in 2011, compared to just 1.6 percent in Washington D.C., another area where the economy has been relatively strong. Wage growth was 3.9 percent in San Francisco and 3.3 percent in Los Angeles.

Here's the press release from Payscale:

Seattle – January 9, 2013 - PayScale, Inc. today announced The PayScale Index for Q4 2012, which tracks quarterly trends in compensation.

Even with the uncertainty brought about by the federal government’s budgetary issues, Q4 2012 proved to be yet another strong quarter for wage growth. Wages for most cities, industries, job categories and company sizes tracked by The PayScale Index are the highest they’ve been since 2006 and every measure of The PayScale Index experienced an annual growth in wages.

“While the headlines oftentimes go to the large-sized companies, The PayScale Index for the second consecutive quarter showed wage growth for small companies outpacing medium and large companies,” said Katie Bardaro, lead economist, PayScale. “Wages in Q4 2012 grew by 2.2 percent for small companies compared to only 1 percent for medium companies and 0.9 percent for large companies.  This strong quarterly growth pushed small companies to almost 5 percent year-over-year wage growth, compared to only 2.7 percent for medium companies and 3.3 percent for large companies.”

MetroRank By Pop(2009) Metropolitan Area PayScale Index 2012   Change
2011-2012
15  Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 111.6   4.8%
Houston-Baytown-Sugar Land, TX 113.1   4.8%
14  Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 105.0   4.5%
10  Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH 109.5   4.5%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 109.1   4.3%
13  San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 108.3   3.9%
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI 108.0   3.8%
16  Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 108.3   3.7%
  United States 108.6   3.5%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 107.9   3.3%
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 109.1   3.2%
12  Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 108.3   3.2%
19  Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 107.1   3.2%
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA 108.0   3.1%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 106.7   3.0%
17  San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 107.5   2.7%
20  Baltimore-Towson, MD 107.9   2.6%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Georgia Metropolitan Area 106.2   2.4%
11  Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI 104.9   1.9%
18  St. Louis, MO-IL 107.3   1.9%
8   Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 108.3   1.6%

Q4 2012 PayScale Index highlights include:

 

·      Media & Publishing Jobs overthrew IT Jobs as the job category with the largest annual growth in wages in Q4 2012.

o   With a quarterly wage increase of 2.2 percent in Q4, on top of quarterly wage increases of 1.4 percent in the preceding two quarters, Media & Publishing Jobs experienced annual wage increases of 4.6 percent in Q4 2012, just beating out IT Jobs at 4.4 percent. 

o   After a bumpy ride from 2008 to 2011 that resulted in little to no growth, this job category has been on fire in 2012. 

·      Another winner this quarter is Construction Jobs – not only is new home construction the highest it has been in more than four years, but wage growth is the best it’s been in more than three years: 

o   Annual wage growth for Construction Jobs was tied for third across all job categories for Q4 at 4.2 percent.

   The Construction Industry didn’t perform quite as well relative to other industries, but finally reached wage growth levels higher than its previous peak in Q4 2008. And from Q1 2011 to Q4 2012, wages grew by more than 4 percent.

·      It was a big quarter for Food Service workers as wages in both the job category and industry finally rose above their 2008 peak levels.

o   Food Service and Restaurant Jobs have consistently shown little to no wage growth after a steep drop in late 2008. However, 2012 was a good year for this job category as wages grew each quarter until they finally surpassed their previous peak levels in Q4.

o   Annual wage growth for Food Service and Restaurant Jobs was 3.3 percent in Q4 and annual wage growth for the Food Services and Accommodation Industry was 3 percent – the highest either have been since being tracked by The PayScale Index.

Adds Bardaro:  “There is still no stopping the pay increases for jobs related to energy or technology, particularly highly skilled ones, as they experienced annual wage growth north of 3 percent and, in some cases, north of 5 percent.”

 

About The PayScale Index

The PayScale Index follows changes in total cash compensation for full-time, private industry employees in the United States and Canada. In addition to a US national index and a Canadian national index, it includes separate indices for the following:

·      15 private industries in the U.S. as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

·      20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget (based on the July 1, 2009 population estimates by the United States Census Bureau).

·      Three company sizes in the U.S.: small (under 100 employees), medium (between 100 and 1,500 employees) and large (greater than 1,500 employees).

·      19 U.S. job categories, as defined, in part, by the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system.

·      Six largest Canadian metropolitan areas, as defined by the Standard Geographical Classification (based on the July 1, 2010 population estimates by the Canadian Census). 

The PayScale Index utilizes a unique approach to trend measurement. Unlike indices such as the Consumer Price Index, which measures the prices of certain goods and services (periodically updated to reflect changes in buying habits of Americans), The PayScale Index uses data on all private-sector, full-time employees working in a given time period.

 

PayScale has performed a detailed analysis of how various compensable factors, like work experience, education, employment setting and job responsibilities affect pay. This analysis is based on PayScale's extensive data of more than 40 million employee profiles, accounting for 250 compensable factors for more than 12,000 unique job titles, which show how the pay of actual workers varies with each of these factors.

 

Creating an Affordable, Inclusive Puget Sound

Creating an Affordable, Inclusive Puget Sound

Making room for our growing population will require more density in urban areas as well as innovation in transportation and office use.
 
 

Seattle has an enviable problem. More and more people are moving to the Puget Sound, so many that, by some estimates, the region’s population could increase by one million residents by 2040. At the same time, Seattle is constrained geographically by water and hills. Our topography is scenic and beautiful, but it also makes it difficult to build new housing.

Further complicating matters, approximately 65 percent of Seattle’s land area is zoned for single-family residences. The hourglass shape of Seattle, at its widest point—between Ballard and Magnuson Park, along 65th Street—is zoned for the lowest density. Meanwhile, the area zoned for the densest development—downtown—is narrowest and where land is most scarce.

Water, land and zoning regulations: these are the facts. If population trends continue, how will people live in our city? As Seattle densifies, how can design provide a more humane environment and housing that all residents can afford? These are some of the questions I’m interested to explore at a panel discussion on October 5, “Seattle 2040: Where Will All the People Live?” at NBBJ’s Seattle office.

 

As an architect, I’m particularly interested in how we might insert greater density, for people of all incomes, into our existing street network including the single-family areas that constitute such a high proportion of Seattle. Mother-in-law apartments, residential units over garages, duplexes and townhouses are just a few options. Done right, we could increase density and affordability without dramatically changing the character of those neighborhoods.

This November a major ballot initiative, Sound Transit 3, could raise billions of dollars to expand light rail. If that happens, it would substantially increase the number of transit-oriented centers in our region, which would lessen the impact of building because we could spread it across more light rail stations.

There are other options. We could look at reusing and densifying public rights-of-way. High-rises like the “no-shadow tower” could mitigate the impacts of tall building on the urban environment. Or driverless cars might create a new transportation system in the next 25 years that fundamentally changes how we get around and where to encourage development.

If you think about the design of office space, 25 years ago, a majority had a private office with limited public amenities; now office space is moving in the other direction, asking people to have less personal space at their desk, but having access to a wider range of shared amenities. I almost think we need a similar approach whereby people move from large single-family houses to smaller homes or apartments. The key to making this work is to have access to more shared, semi-private amenities or nearby public open space.

Some of the issues Seattle faces also challenge many other U.S. cities, but these challenges cannot be solved by design firms single-handedly. A city’s growth affects everyone, young and old, rich and poor, newcomers and long-time residents. We are in this together, and it will require everyone to bring about our shared future. 

David Yuan, AIA, LEED AP, is a partner at global architecture and design firm NBBJ.