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.

 

Final Analysis: Flying Higher

Final Analysis: Flying Higher

How a certain local airline could strike a blow for fairer treatment of college athletes.
FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 
Here’s a thought: While Alaska Air Group spends $2.6 billion swallowing up Virgin America, it should wield some of its new clout — Alaska will soon be the nation’s fifth-largest air carrier — on becoming the college athlete’s best friend.
 
Alaska already showers upon the University of Washington nearly $5 million a year for naming rights to the football field at Husky Stadium and the basketball court at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. It also has sponsorship arrangements with athletic programs at the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. It even paints some of its airplanes in the colors of 11 Western universities, including the UW.
 
On the weekend that news of Alaska’s acquisition of Virgin America broke, the UW women’s basketball team was completing its improbable and exhilarating run to the Final Four of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. It occurred to me that there’s an opportunity here for Alaska CEO Brad Tilden to start lobbying the NCAA on behalf of student-athletes everywhere, but particularly in Alaska Airlines’ own backyard.
 
Alaska’s Husky Stadium agreement — 10 years, $41 million — already earmarks half of the money for scholarships and “student-athlete welfare.” Last year, for the first time, the NCAA started allowing Division I schools to pay athletes a stipend for incidental living expenses — things like late-night snacks, student fees, incidental travel — that aren’t covered by athletic scholarships for tuition, room and board. 
 
The UW’s annual stipend for athletes is $3,085, or roughly $11.40 a day during a nine-month academic year. It’s not a lot, but it’s enough for a couple of cheeseburgers and a chocolate shake when the dining halls are closed.
 
Alaska’s naming-rights money goes into the pot that helps provide those stipends, which the NCAA instituted as a means of closing the gap between what an athletic scholarship provides — tuition, room, board, books and fees — and the “real” cost of attending college.
 
The problem is that this “cost of attendance” stipend has made a  playing field that’s not level even less fair. Some schools pay stipends of more than $5,000, which is totally permissible under the NCAA guidelines. So if you’re a poor kid being recruited by several universities, which school would you choose — the one offering no stipend, the one offering $3,000 or the one offering $5,000?
 
This is where a corporate CEO has the opportunity to say to the NCAA, “We are a major employer who believes in treating its workers equitably. As a huge supporter of our local university’s athletics program, we think it’s time you paid your athletes a little bit more than cheeseburger money — and paid them fairly acros the board.”
 
It doesn’t have to be a quid-pro-quo situation, as in “pay these athletes or we’ll take our sponsorship money elsewhere.” But airlines have become adept at squeezing travelers for every last dime via baggage fees, boarding fees, legroom fees, beverage fees and the like. I imagine an airline executive could be pretty persuasive suggesting the NCAA assess itself a “fairness fee” and pay student-athletes a decent wage from its enormous piggy bank.
 
The NCAA can still call it a stipend if it wants. Regardless, it should finally admit that scholarships are meant to provide an education but don’t begin to acknowledge that an athlete’s contribution to an institution’s bottom line — not to mention its reputation in the media and its perception by the public — deserves considerably more than free tuition. 
 
JOHN LEVESQUE is the managing editor of Seattle Business magazine.