Pay Gap Between Biggest US Cities Is Getting Wider as Wages Slow

 Wage growth is slowing down in the US economy as a whole — but not everywhere.

The gap between pay hikes across major American cities widened last quarter, according to data published Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The difference between the fastest and slowest increases in employment costs among 15 major metros rose to 4 percentage points, matching the highest figure of the pandemic period. It hasn’t been bigger since 2016.

Pay Gap Widens Between Big US Cities

The difference between the fastest and slowest rates of pay growth across major metro areas hasn't been bigger since 2016

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Overall US employment costs for private industry rose in the second quarter at the slowest pace in two years, the BLS reported, reflecting a labor market that is gradually cooling.

In Philadelphia, though, the 6.6% jump in employment costs from a year earlier was the biggest in data going back to 2006. At 5.7%, the Washington metro area matched last quarter’s record high.

Meanwhile, in Houston, pay increased just 2.6% from last year. The city has ranked bottom among the 15 major cities for the past three quarters.

The second-lowest wage increases came in Minneapolis, at 4.1% — but workers there are at least getting ahead of the cost of living. The city reported an inflation rate of just 1.8% in May, the lowest for any major metro in the country.

Pay Spreads

Private industry wages and salaries rise to a record in the Philadelphia area

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Note: June 2023 compared to June 2022

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