PayScale Releases Q2 2011 Compensation Index

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The PayScale Index for Q2 2011 shows evidence that wages are stuck at 2008 levels.

PayScale, Inc. today announced the release of The PayScale Index for Q2 2011, which tracks quarterly trends in compensation. Specifically, The PayScale Index follows changes in total cash compensation for full-time, private industry employees in the United States.

National wage levels in Q2 2011 remained generally flat, and were not much higher than they were in Q1 2008. For the four previous quarters (Q2 2010 to Q1 2011), wages were up slightly (0.1-0.3 percent) over the previous year, but that trend has ended. Wages were down nationally in Q2 2011 0.1% year over year.

In the last 12 months, only five of the 20 metros have had wage increases greater than 0.5 percent. They are Seattle (0.8 percent), Dallas (0.7 percent), Boston (0.6 percent), Houston (0.6 percent), and Phoenix (0.6 percent). Typical wages fell 0.2 percent across the metros on average, continuing a trend for more than a year where the 20 largest metros have wage growth weaker than the national average.

"The PayScale Index for Q2 2011 shows that supply and demand applies, even to employee wages. The last six months have seen the unemployment rate stay stubbornly high: with this ’oversupply‘ of workers, employees are not in a position to demand more pay,” said Dr. Al Lee, Director of Quantitative Analysis at PayScale. “Wages have stayed flat, with the national median pay actually dropping 0.1 percent compared to last year at this time."

Index highlights include:

  •     The positive uptick in Q1 2011 was completely wiped out in Q2, leaving Baltimore wages down over a percent from a year earlier.
  •     Q2 2011 was not a good one for Detroit: wages dropped substantially from the previous quarter, and were flat vs. the year before. Five years later, Detroit wages are up less than 1 percent over where they were in 2006.
  •     In Q2 2011, Seattle wages rose robustly, with the highest gain over the previous quarter in the country.
  •     In Q2 2011, the good news for Philadelphia wages is that they are only about a half percent below their peak in 2008. The bad news is wages basically did not change, leaving Philly wages at the same level they were more than three years earlier.
  •     Dallas wages were down in Q1 2011 from the previous quarter, but bounced back in Q2 2011, leaving Dallas salaries up 0.7 percent over a year earlier, second best of the 20 metros tracked by The PayScale Index.
  •     St. Louis wages were effectively unchanged in Q2 2011 from the previous quarter, holding on to a modest rebound from the trough during the recession. While not spectacular, wages have outpaced the national trend since 2006 by a little less than 1 percent.
  •     Despite a horrible housing market and construction segment, wages in Phoenix were able to hold steady in Q2 2011, solidifying a gain of about a half percent over the previous year, good enough to be in the top 5 metros for wage growth.
  •     In Q2 2011, the modest gains of 2010 in Washington D.C. metropolitan wages were given back, with wages down from the previous quarter, and basically flat from a year earlier.
  •     The strong upward tick for Houston wages in Q1 2011 was solidified in Q2 2011, with wages climbing slightly over the previous quarter. While still slightly below their peak in 2008, Houston wage gains since 2006 far outpace the national average, and Houston is in the top 3 metros for year-over-year wage increases.

About The PayScale Index
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 23 million employee profiles, accounting for 250 compensable factors for 7,000 unique job titles, which show how the pay of actual workers varies with each of these factors.

The PayScale Index also examines quarterly changes in the pay of employed workers across 15 private industry categories separately, 20 metropolitan areas, and across company sizes of less than 100 employees, 100-1,500 employees, and more than 1,500 employees. Industries include: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation; Business Operation Support Services; Construction; Finance & Insurance; Food Services & Accommodation; Healthcare & Social Assistance; Information, Media & Telecommunications; Manufacturing; Mining; Professional, Scientific & Tech Services; Real Estate; Retail; Transportation & Warehousing/Storage; Utilities; and Wholesale Trade.

About PayScale ( is the leading online provider of employee compensation data. With the world's largest database of individual compensation profiles, PayScale provides an immediate and precise snapshot of current market salaries to employees and employers. PayScale's patent-pending, real-time profiling technology collects and indexes employee pay attributes worldwide and makes this compensation data available through its online salary tools and salary benchmarking reports. PayScale was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Seattle. For more information, visit:

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