22 Oct 2015 Wage Growth Inequality Grows in the U.S.; Is Highest in San Jose, Charlotte and Raleigh; Lowest in New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City
Wage growth inequality can be defined as the difference between the growth in wages for two different levels of wage earners.
Workers are split between “High Wage” earners and “Low Wage” earners. High Wage earners are those in the top half of the chart below and have a median wage at the 75th Percentile. Low Wage earners have a median wage at the 25th Percentile. The difference in median wage growth from 2005-2014 of these two groups is an indication of whether inequality has gotten better or worse over time.
Overall for the US, High Wage earners enjoyed a 3.1% increase in their real median wage, after accounting for inflation. Low Wage earners witnessed a 3.8% fall in their wage. Across the 52 largest U.S. metros (with 1+ million population), the highest wage growth inequality over the 2005-2014 period was in San Jose (a 14 percentage point difference in growth rates), followed by Charlotte (13 percentage pts.) and Raleigh (12 percentage pts.).
All large US metros experienced wage growth inequality that favored High Wage earners, with the exception of New Orleans. Pittsburgh and Oklahoma City also had minimal wage growth inequality. Examining the extremes of the spectrum, the Ultra-High Wage earners (90th Percentile) versus the Ultra-Low Wage earners (10th Percentile), wage growth inequality was worst in San Francisco, Boston, and Charlotte. The least was found in Tucson, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans.
Research, analysis and content developed by Headlight Data. Original data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Estimates program.
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