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.

 

Looking for high investment returns? Consider investing in a family business.

Looking for high investment returns? Consider investing in a family business.

 
 

Investors do not lack opportunities to deploy their capital, but being able to generate respectable returns is much more difficult. Part of the problem is finding unique investment opportunities with significant upside in a crowded market. The best option may be to put money to work in a privately-held company.

But private companies pose challenges when it comes to understanding their business, and analysis of the company may be fraught with pitfalls. Or it may be that investors are simply not aware of the opportunity in the first place.

There is, however, an important trend that is clearly discernable in relation to family-held businesses. Wealthy families and individuals are increasingly attracted to the idea of providing capital directly to family businesses as part of their overall investing strategy. And the attraction is reciprocated – family-owned businesses are increasingly open to the idea of wealthy families and individuals providing capital.

At Cascadia Capital, we are seeing a rapid increase in the practice of families investing in families, which can be a highly effective solution for both businesses and investors. Family businesses can be attractive investments, particularly for other family businesses, private companies, individuals, or family offices, which are wealth management companies investing on behalf of a single family or individual. Family run businesses often employ management styles that these investors understand well and can offer portfolio diversification without the hefty fees charged by private equity funds and investment firms; fees that, over time, can add up to millions of dollars.

According to a recent survey by the Family Office Exchange, about 70 percent of family offices now pursue this strategy of direct investing. This may be, in part, due to a shift by family offices seeking to bypass layers of fees and a lack of transparency and control that are inherent to the private equity fund model. Instead, many family offices now prefer to invest directly on a deal-by-deal basis offering more direct control, additional flexibility for longer-term holds, and lower fees. 

From the perspective of family businesses, a significant number are considering alternative solutions to meet their strategic objectives. In the event of a sale, an acquisition by another family can be a compelling solution compared to a private equity or strategic buyer transaction. And when seeking financing for business activities, direct investments from family offices can offer significantly more flexibility than funding from private equity firms that are beholden to rigid criteria and fixed investment periods.

 

The benefits for family businesses of having a direct relationship with their investors or buyers can be numerous. For example, if a family is looking to sell its business, family office buyers can provide liquidity and the opportunity for owners to exit without having to sell to a competitor. If a family is looking for additional financing to fund growth, direct family office investments can offer more favorable terms than other traditional sources of financing.

 Importantly, wealthy families and individuals are more likely to take a long-term view of their investment and are not constrained by exit strategies devised to maximize value within a given time period. Further, these investors often made their money owning and operating successful companies and, as a result, are more likely to understand the nuances and unique challenges of family run businesses. 

This investment trend, while also being experienced in other parts of the country, is gaining momentum in the Pacific Northwest. We are increasingly finding private direct investments to be an effective solution for our family-owned business clients and our family office clients.

Choosing the right investment partner is one of the most challenging decisions a family business can make. We have worked with many private, family run businesses to design long-term, flexible capital solutions and introduce our clients to suitable family office and private investors with common objectives.

 For family offices, like any investment opportunity, buying into family businesses can be very attractive, but it is not without risk. Prior to investing, proper analysis calls for extensive financial due diligence to ensure interests and incentives are well aligned in the transaction. Success depends on ensuring both a structural and cultural fit. We actively encourage family business owners and family investors to work with experienced advisors to carefully explore every available option before determining the best course of action.

Christian Schiller is a managing director at Cascadia Capital, specializing in advising family businesses. Cascadia Capital is a Seattle-based investment bank serving middle market clients, globally.