Wages grew 3.4% last year

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Wages for U.S. workers increased 3.4 percent in the past year, increasing the average wage level by $0.93 to $28.06 an hour, but job switching continued to slow, at a rate of 20.5 percent -- and wages in professional services grew at a below-average rate, according to a new report from ADP.

The ADP Research Institute’s Workforce Vitality Report found strong wage gains, particularly in the education and health services sectors, representing 19 percent of the workforce (with 4.1 percent wage growth, and a $27.05 average hourly wage) and trade, representing 22 percent of the workforce (4.4 percent wage growth, and a $24.56 average hourly wage). The Northeast (3.7 percent, and $31.57) and large businesses (4.9 percent, and $29.04) also contributed to wage growth this past year.

In terms of industry sectors, employees in the resources and mining industry saw wages decrease on average by -0.2 percent to an average of $35.24 per hour, while businesses with fewer than 50 employees experienced the slowest wage growth (2.0 percent, and $26.06). The information industry led the way in both wage level and growth.

Along with a top overall wage growth number of 5.1 percent, workers who successfully switched jobs to the information industry saw wage growth of 10.6 percent. Employment in the information industry increased 2.9 percent.

People who switched jobs in professional and business services and the construction industry saw high wage growth of 8.2 and 9.0 percent, respectively. In the trade sector, job holders experienced stronger growth in wages than workers who switched to the industry, 5.3 percent as opposed to 3.8 percent, respectively.

“As the labor market sits at full employment, we continue to see an overall slowdown in job switching across the majority of industries,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute, in a statement. “One industry defying the market trend is finance, which has experienced a steady uptick in job switching. This acceleration is driven primarily by younger workers.”

Employees in the West and Northeast regions of the U.S. outpaced the other two regions with 3.7 percent wage growth, but the West had the strongest employment growth of 2.7 percent. People who switched jobs also fared best in the West, seeing average wage growth of 7.7 percent. Workers in the South had the lowest wage growth at 3.0 percent, and the Midwest had the worst employment growth at 0.9 percent. In terms of company size, workers at large businesses had the highest wage growth rate at 4.9 percent, with employment growth at 2.4 percent.

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