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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

January 11, 2011 at 10:30 AM

After a late peak, Seattle-area compensation stays flat

It was nice while it lasted. Not only did metro Seattle wages grow stronger than the rest of the nation through 2007, but they actually hit a peak in the first quarter of 2009, well into the Great Recession. Nearly all other metro areas had peaked earlier and dropped off. Unfortunately, we followed and wages have been basically flat for a year. At the end of 2010, Seattle wages were essentially unchanged from where they stood three years before.

This information comes from Seattle-based PayScale, an online company that tracks changes in wages and compensation trends. The PayScale Index measures the quarterly change in the total cash compensation of full-time private sector employees nationally, as well as in the 20 largest metropolitan areas.

At a little less than 106 on the index, Seattle wages are still above the nation (104), which has also seen a flatline in wage growth through 2010. In the first quarter of 2009, metro Seattle wages hit 107.9

Nationally, wages have increased an average 0.3% since the fourth-quarter of 2007, while core inflation has grown by 4.5 percent. Not everyone came out that well. Workers at companies employing fewer than 100 employees saw wages fall through all of 2010, coming in 1 percent lower than a year earlier. The best performance came from mining, oil and gas exploration, rising 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter from the same period in 2009.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Is it a brain drain?

Clearing deadwood? Just goodbye?

MS mystery

Comments | More in Jobs/Unemployment

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