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.

 

Virgin on Business: Celebrating Boeing and the Interstate

Virgin on Business: Celebrating Boeing and the Interstate

If nothing else, significant anniversaries give us reason to pause and ponder.
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

Round-number-anniversary stories are an overused tool in the journalism workshop, maybe because they’re still helpful in pausing to assess where we are, how we got here and where we’re going.

In the case of two such round-number anniversaries being marked this year, those questions about where we’ve been and where we’re going have literal application because they pertain to two hugely significant developments in transportation, both important to this region, although only one is closely identified with it.

This year, Boeing celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding and the interstate highway system marks 60 years since its official launch.

It is possible to overstate the significance to Seattle of Bill Boeing’s venture into aviation. It’s not true that without Boeing there wouldn’t be a Seattle, at least one that anyone would have heard of. Seattle was already someplace by 1916, thanks to the port and the railroads — the earlier contributions of two other modes of transport to Seattle’s creation — and events like the Klondike gold rush. Boeing didn’t emerge as the world’s preeminent commercial-aerospace company until well into its middle age.

But would the Seattle region have grown to the size it is and the importance it claims without being one of the world’s centers of aerospace design and production? Would it have developed the tech industries it thrives upon today without the foundation Boeing laid? Would it be a home to a thick portfolio of nationally significant companies? That’s highly debatable and quite doubtful.

As for where we’re going, wherever it is, we’ll likely get there by plane for a long time hence. For all the talk of hyperloops and other technologies, the airplane is still a remarkably efficient, productive and safe method of getting people and stuff from one place to another. There may be revolutions in design, materials and propulsion to rival the transition from propeller to jet, but short of teleportation, the airplane’s place in transportation is secure.

Much less secure are Boeing’s and Seattle’s places in that future. A lot of airplane-building rivals have come and gone in 100 years, and more are coming. It would be nice for both if Boeing and Seattle were still relevant to the discussion of the aerospace industry when the 200th anniversary of Boeing’s founding occurs. 

Meanwhile, the interstate highway system gets little love and a lot of abuse these days, credited with urban demolition, suburban sprawl and desecration of the countryside, not to mention the intangible crime of encouraging Americans to race to their destinations while ignoring the joys and sights of the journey.

Some of the blame is earned; much of it is silly. For people and things, the destination usually matters more than the journey. The interstates rendered the destination possible by making the journey faster and safer, even more enjoyable. And lamentations about not seeing or appreciating the country when viewed from the interstate are sometimes wrong. Take the drive on I-82 between Ellensburg and Yakima, or on I-90 just west of Snoqualmie summit, and try not to be impressed by either the scenery or the engineering feats.

Your cargo, however, is not on a sightseeing trip. It has places to be and work to do, which underscores the massive contribution the interstate system has made as an incredibly powerful economic engine. The modern American supply chain is a wondrous thing; it doesn’t happen without a network of limited-access divided highways, which, by the way, took a lot of traffic off city streets and rural roads, improving life for many.

Unloved as Interstates 5, 90 and 405 are for their congestion, noise, unsightliness, etc., and as expensive as it’s going to be to expand, rebuild and maintain them, give them credit for making urban life possible.  

Monthly columnist Bill Virgin is the founder and owner of Northwest Newsletter Group, which publishes Washington Manufacturing Alert and Pacific Northwest Rail News.