Cities with Greatest and Lowest Wage Growth for Q3 2015

PayScale has released their Q3 2015 PayScale Index, which tracks quarterly and annual trends in compensation and provides a U.S. national wage forecast for the coming quarter. The index reveals that the average 12 month increase in U.S. wages across all industries was 1.0 percent. National annual wage growth was varied over the period, ranging from a more than 2% gain to a nearly 2% loss in certain industries and metro regions.  The company forecasts Q4 wage growth in 2015 will remain relatively flat at 0.6 annually.  The index reveals that real wages have gone down 8% since 2006. 

According to PayScale's Vice President of Data and Lead Economist, Katie Bardaro, “While there were a few bright spots in the economy in the last quarter, U.S. wages remain sluggish overall. Again in Q3, real wages were down 8 percent in comparison to 2006 levels, reflecting the reality that wage growth has not kept pace with inflation. This scenario is expected to continue, as the Index forecasts only tepid annual wage growth of 0.6 percent next quarter.”  

Key findings in the Q3 2015 PayScale Index: 

  • STEM-focused jobs rebounded somewhat in Q3:

    • Although wages for IT jobs fell in the first two quarters of 2015, they picked up a bit in Q3, growing 0.6 percent for the quarter and 0.5 percent annually.

    • Engineering jobs also experienced an uptick this quarter, as wages grew 0.9 percent for the quarter and 0.8 percent for the year.

    • Likewise, Science and Biotech jobs also experienced wage growth in Q3; 0.8 percent for the quarter and 0.9 percent for the year.

  • Wages continued to recover in the Construction and Real Estate industry:

    • Both the construction and real estate industry were hit hard during the recession years, but began to experience significant wage growth in 2014.

    • Annual wages for workers in the construction industry and real estate industry grew 1.7 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

  • Wages for Mining, Oil and Gas Exploration industry continued to decline:

    • Annual wage growth for this industry fell another 1.6 percent in Q3, causing wages to decline more than 3 percent below their peak in at the end of 2014 when the barrel price of oil was more than double what it is today.

    • Similarly, annual wages in Houston, a metro dominated by the oil industry, also took a dip of 0.1 percent this quarter.

  • Highlights for U.S. Metro wage growth include:

    • The top five U.S. metro areas experiencing the most annual wage growth in Q3 were:

      • Baltimore, MD (2.4 percent)

      • Minneapolis, MN (2.4 percent)

      • Philadelphia, PA (2.1 percent)

      • Chicago, IL (1.6 percent)

      • San Francisco, CA (1.5 percent)

    • The three U.S. metros experiencing the largest drop in annual wage growth were:

      • San Diego, CA (-0.7 percent)

      • Washington, DC, MA (-0.2 percent)

      • Houston, TX (-0.1 percent)

  • Summary of Canadian wage growth:

    • Most Q3 Index measures show positive wage growth in Canada, as the country experienced 1.2 percent annual wage growth nationally.

    • The top three Canadian metro areas experiencing the most annual wage growth in Q3 were:

      • Vancouver, BC (2.2 percent)

      • Ottawa, ON (1.8 percent)

      • Toronto, ON (1.4 percent)

    • Wage growth in the Canadian oil city of Edmonton, AB continued to suffer from low oil prices in a similar fashion as Houston, TX. Wages in Edmonton, AB were down 1.8 percent for the quarter. However, Edmonton still dominates Canadian metropolitan areas for most growth since 2006 at 21.1 percent.

  • Summary of United Kingdom wage growth:

    • Wage growth in the U.K. recovered from the slight decline in Q2 2015 with quarterly wage growth of 0.9 percent and annual wage growth of 1.0 percent.

    • As of Q3 2015, wages in the U.K. grew by 9.0 percent since 2006, falling behind Canada (11.4 percent), but ahead of the U.S. (8.8 percent).

To view the entire interactive Q3 2015 PayScale Index which reflects wage trends across various industries, job categories, company sizes and major metros, please visit: