ADP: U.S. Wage Growth Remained Steady at 3.4 Percent Annually; Job Switching Continues to Slow

Originally Published by ADP.

Wages for U.S. workers grew 3.4 percent over the last year, increasing the average wage level by $0.93 to $28.06 an hour, according to the ADP Research Institute Workforce Vitality Report (WVR) released. The growth, steadying at 3.4 percent annual as of December 2018, was driven by strong wage gains for workers in the education and health services industry, representing 19 percent of the workforce, (4.1 percent wage growth, $27.05 average hourly wage) and trade, representing 22 percent of the workforce, (4.4 percent wage growth, $24.56 average hourly wage). The Northeast (3.7 percent, $31.57) and large businesses (4.9 percent, $29.04) also contributed. Employees in the resources and mining industry saw their wages decrease (-0.2 percent, $35.24) and businesses with less than 50 employees experienced the slowest wage growth (2.0 percent, $26.06).


“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. “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.”

Among industries, as expected, information continued to lead the way for both wage level and wage growth. In addition to the top overall wage growth number of 5.1 percent, those who successfully switched positions to the information industry had wage growth of 10.6 percent. Employment in the information industry jumped by 2.9 percent.

Job switchers in professional and business services and construction also realized high wage growth of 8.2 and 9.0 percent, respectively. In trade, the largest sector, job holders experienced stronger growth in wages than the workers who switched to the industry, 5.3 percent versus 3.8 percent.

Table 1: Wage and Employment Growth by Industry December 2018

Industry

Wages

YOY Wage Growth

Yearly Growth

All

Holders

Entrants

Switchers

Employment Growth

Switching Rate

-ALL-

$28.06

3.4%

4.7%

4.6%

5.4%

1.7%

20.5%

Goods

Construction

$28.27

2.9%

5.0%

3.1%

9.0%

3.5%

15.1%

Manufacturing

$29.18

3.4%

4.7%

7.7%

5.7%

1.2%

16.7%

Resources and Mining

$35.24

-0.2%

4.7%

5.2%

1.7%

7.2%

12.1%

Services

Information

$42.60

5.1%

5.6%

2.2%

10.6%

2.9%

19.2%

Finance and Real Estate

$32.97

2.8%

4.7%

6.8%

6.3%

1.6%

18.6%

Professional and Business Services

$35.52

2.7%

4.0%

6.6%

8.2%

1.1%

24.4%

Education and Health Services

$27.05

4.1%

4.4%

3.7%

3.5%

2.2%

19.8%

Leisure and Hospitality

$17.20

2.9%

5.4%

6.4%

-1.7%

2.1%

23.1%

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

$24.56

4.4%

5.3%

3.0%

3.8%

1.1%

21.7%

Workers in the West and Northeast outpaced other two regions with 3.7 percent wage growth but West had the highest employment growth at 2.7 percent. Job switchers also fared best in the West experiencing a wage growth of 7.7 percent. Workers in the South had the lowest wage growth at 3.0 percent and Midwest had the worst employment growth at 0.9 percent. By firm size, workers at large firms had the highest wage growth rate at 4.9 percent, with employment growth at 2.4 percent.

Table 2: Wage and Employment Growth by Region and Firm Size December 2018

Region

Wages

YOY Wage Growth

Yearly Growth

All

Holders

Entrants

Switchers

Employment Growth

Switching Rate

-USA-

$28.06

3.4%

4.7%

4.6%

5.4%

1.7%

20.5%

MIDWEST

$26.01

3.4%

4.5%

4.0%

4.0%

0.9%

19.4%

NORTHEAST

$31.57

3.7%

4.7%

5.3%

6.3%

1.2%

21.8%

SOUTH

$26.24

3.0%

4.6%

3.8%

4.2%

1.9%

20.4%

WEST

$30.21

3.7%

4.9%

5.5%

7.7%

2.7%

20.8%

Company Size

-ALL-

$28.06

3.4%

4.7%

4.6%

5.4%

1.7%

20.5%

49 or less

$26.06

2.0%

4.1%

3.0%

5.0%

0.5%

14.6%

50 to 499

$28.19

2.4%

4.8%

5.9%

5.5%

1.9%

22.3%

500 to 999

$29.19

3.1%

5.1%

4.6%

4.9%

2.4%

21.2%

1000 or more

$29.04

4.9%

4.9%

4.7%

5.5%

2.4%

23.4%

The WVR also revealed that 20.5 percent of U.S. employees successfully switched firms in the last year. This highlights an overall slowdown in job switching. However, job switching in the finance industry is accelerating, where more than 18.6 percent of workers in the industry switched firms in the last year.

We have seen wage growth for all job switchers gradually accelerating during this same time period, currently at 5.4 percent. In finance, wage growth for job switchers is also picking up, currently at 6.3 percent.

To see detailed workforce vitality components for the fourth quarter of 2018, including data broken down by region, firm size, industry, gender, and age, visit http://workforcereport.adp.com/. The first quarter 2019 ADP Workforce Vitality Report will be released on Wednesday, April 24, 2019.

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