Top Five Industries for Salary Growth

Looking for a well-paid job in construction or real estate? Most people know that the chances of getting hired or getting a raise in either of those industries are pretty slim these days. In fact, average salaries in both real estate and construction are down even from where they were a year ago. But, there are industries where wages are finally growing, post-recession.

Online salary database has collected salary data dating back to 2006 to create a new economic indicator, The PayScale Index. The PayScale Index, which will be refreshed quarterly, tracks the changes in average wages of private industry, full-time employees in 16 different industries. It's clear that the recession hit every sector. But, which industries suffered the greatest wage losses and which are recovering fastest?

The following is a list of the top five industries for salary growth and the percentage of average wage increase between Q3 2009 and Q3 2010 for each:

1. Utilities +0.8%

This industry's resilience isn't too surprising considering that, no matter what the economy is doing, consumers are likely going to spend money on electricity, natural gas and other basics, says Al Lee, PayScale's director of quantitative analysis. They may try to cut back on electricity use, but they'll still need it and pay for it.

2. Mining, Oil & Gas Exploration +0.6%

Commodities have been doing well in recent years, with the price of gold up fourfold since 2001, according to Plus, oil and gas exploration continues to expand through the use of new extraction technologies and the discovery of new deposits. And, oil and gas demand tends to stay high because it is measured internationally and if one country is growing slowly for a while and using less petroleum another one is booming and consuming more, says Lee.

3. Finance & Insurance +0.5%

Banks suffered big human resource losses during the recession, with layoffs becoming the norm. Yet, while many finance industry people may remain unemployed, those who have jobs are seeing an increase in wages. Lee suspects this is due to a return to profitability across the industry in 2010, after the crisis and federal bailouts of 2008 and early 2009.

4. Health Care & Social Assistance +0.2%

Health care is not a cyclical industry so it's no surprise that it is on the positive side, according to Lee. "People don't stop going in for surgery or high blood pressure medication," he says. Compared to all of the industries in The PayScale Index, health care suffered a relatively small, brief drop in wages during the recession.

5. Retail +0.2%

Retail certainly wasn't the place to be when the recession was hitting bottom, but it wasn't the worst and is currently showing signs of life. And, considering how badly retail was hit during the recession, this uptick is a strong hint at economic recovery. Less than half a percent of growth is very small, but it isn't negative and that's the key point, says Lee.

How Are Other Industries Doing?

Of the 16 industries The PayScale Index tracks, seven of them have experienced upward wage trends, or at least not losses remained steady in the last year. Among the remaining industries, those recovering the slowest are still seeing a dip in wages over the previous year:

1. Construction -0.8%

2. Business Operation & Support Services -0.6%

3. Real Estate & Rental Services -0.5%

4. Arts, Entertainment & Recreation -0.5%

5. Information, Media & Telecommunications -0.3%

Next: Top Five Cities for Salary Growth: A Glimmer of Hope

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It would be interesting to see if top management in Corporate U.S. circles have failed to increase or the unlikely possibility they have decreased. I am reasonably certain the salaries of U.S. Congressman (Senators and Representatives), elected/appointed officials, agency heads and other upper level bureaucrats have not decreased but may not have increased, either, although I am not so sure of that.

November 20 2010 at 8:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


November 20 2010 at 7:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Eisenhower warned us to watch out for the military/industrial complex and he was absolutely right except he didn't see how much our central government was going to be involved in this mess. Mr. Alex, I worked for the Navy (Federal Government) for 15 years and saw corruption that I would have never dreamed possible had I not seen it with my own eyes. I can shave my armpits and go to Berkley but it won't change the cesspool situation we have in this country.

November 20 2010 at 7:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What's the matter AOL, can't handle my comments about wishing the September 11th plane would have destroyed the White House and all the evil within? I pay for AOL service and expect you to leave my comment intact.

November 20 2010 at 6:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hummer 1 is the only one

Hi Heather, youre a sick f*ck ..go shave your armpits..and drop out of Berkeley

November 20 2010 at 6:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Hummer 1 is the only one's comment

Nope, not a sick f*ck. But I know a sick situation when I see it.

November 20 2010 at 7:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hummer 1 is the only one

i think the idiot is you to think that "your" democrats who fly off in G4 private jets and wine and dine at the best restaurants in DC actaully give sh*t about you..silly silly man....AT leat the Tea Party is trying for a fisscally consertaive approcah to govt... tahts means cuts cuts cuts...its a start....anarchy is next

November 20 2010 at 6:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Hummer 1 is the only one's comment

The TEA PARTY!! Ha, Ha, Ha. If anybody hasn't noticed, the cow has already escaped from the barn, has left the country, and now resides in China and Mexico, India, etc. The Tea Party can throw their tea in the harbor, rant and rave, stomp their feet and do whatever but the party is over!! Ha! Ha!

November 20 2010 at 8:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was and am sorry that the airplane on September 11th, 2001 did not crash into the White House. I would have been sorry that Bush and all the corporate and military (Pentagon) consortium would not have been there to be destroyed.

November 20 2010 at 6:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Heather's comment


November 20 2010 at 6:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The reason there is no money for the masses , it is spend opn life time benefit for City and Government employees

November 20 2010 at 5:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to joel's comment

I am replying to all the comments.It's real funny to see how people think when things affect them.Tell the problem we never real think things through into you realize every thing matters .I work on jobs when it was affermmitive action I was a token . I felt wouldnt be wonderful if I was there because of my skills. Little did I know which Pres. I think Ragan got rid of it .They were building schools ,libaries, roads ,refineries,all soughts Fed stuff.Even the union kept up with age workers .There was a pie and every body got a piece. And today we still see people fighting each other!!!Because now it effect me when it always did .Even the so call rich dont relize how its hitting them. It goes all the way back to adam &eve on the spirtual side learn about what Jehovah's kingdom is. what happen to america go to you tube look at "the money masters " .

November 20 2010 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mike W


Sure they are against government wasteful spending just like all of us are. First people have to realize the reason why our government leaders spend so much on BS is that have been on and are still on the rewards program. The more they spend, the more favors they get. Mainly bribes, kickbacks or campaign donations (really all three are the same thing). If you think the Big business and the Corporation give them millions in campaign donations without expecting favors in return then you’re a fool

As for wasting money on social programs, the whole problem is lack of jobs. The more unemployment, the more the government has to spend on unemployment benefits, welfare, food stamps, etc. The solution is to stop and reverse the offshoring of jobs, Also crack down on illegals taking our jobs which the government refuses to do because they benefit the rich.

The Tea party like the Republicans want it both ways. They think it's totally OK to offshore jobs but they don't want to help support those that can't find work,

When asked, if you continue to help offshore our jobs with tax breaks, what are these hundreds of millions of Americans supposed to do ? The Republicans say these people should first kill all their family members and then kill themselves. We will provide suicide pills if they prefer. The Tea party has suggested setting up gas chambers like during the holocaust to eliminate those that can't find work.

This is how these Goddamn shit heads think. I have a better idea. We need to band together and revolt against these assholes and take back America so EVERYONE can work and live a life of peace and happiness. Until we revolt, things are going to get much much worse.

The choice is up to you, kill your family and yourself, or join in the revolution, fight back and save your family. Let’s take them down before they take us down….

November 20 2010 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mike W


The latest statistics show that over 50% of the children in America are now on food stamps. Even more stunning is 90% of African American kids are now on food stamps.

Why, two reasons:. First massive unemployment and a worthless government that doesn’t give a damn about anything except helping the filthy rich get richer so that they can get their bribes and kickbacks.

Now that Global Big business completely controls our government through bribes via corporate lobbyists, they don’t want any more jobs created in this country because it would compete with all the foreign markets. Global Big Business says “screw the American people, we plan to offshore every damn American job and there is nothing the American people can do about it because we now completely control the US federal government so ha ha”

Second, many people that have jobs can’t afford to feed their children because the cost of living in this country is so ridiculously high. This is due to all the constant inflation caused by our lazy worthless government constantly increasing the nation debt with wasteful spending and bullshit give a ways. The higher it gets, the higher inflation gets as the dollar is then worth less.

Our government says they would rather pay the entire country food stamps, welfare , government housing, unemployment rather than create jobs or help keep the jobs from being offshored. Why, because that’s what Global Big Business wants and they control our government now so get it through your thick heads. Most of corrupt government leaders don’t really care how high the national debt gets as long as they get their 6 digit salaries, 6 digit pensions plus their bribes and kick backs from Global Big Business and the Global banks that actually want the national to go up so they can get more interest and eventually own the US (and everything that we own)

This may be the richest country in the world but we have one of the most corrupt governments’ in the world. After many years the politicians (many started off as lawyers) were able to change and create laws and a system in which the filthy rich would be able to eventually own everything (power and wealth) and continue to get richer by making the poor poorer That’s why 1% of the country owns 98% of the wealth

Face the facts, there is only one solution. We need to get together and start a revolution , try and hang every politician from congress to the assembly and replace them with people who won’t sell us out.

November 20 2010 at 5:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to mike W's comment
Hummer 1 is the only one

wait, you forgot to include the 10 million children who are from illegal immigrants on WIC and EBT assistance....Even if they do bring back whooping cough and 3rd world diseases with them, they are people too!

November 20 2010 at 6:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Some of the statistics that have been posted are inflated, 17% of the population is on food stamps, that’s pretty incredible. The real unemployment if you count those who are no longer on the unemployment roles is close to 25 million people.
It’s a bit arrogant and condescending for those who have not the least bit of empathy for people who have fallen on hard times.
Here are some real statistics, the Wall Street Journal did a story about two months ago, and mind you the Journal is a real right wing paper that favors big business and the affluent, pulled together the 500 highest income earners tax information. They found that those in this group averaged 344 million in income annually and only paid 13% on average in taxes. Hedge fund managers pay 15% in taxes on hundreds of millions and in some cases billions of income because they earn their money in a capitol gains format. What is the difference how you earn it, Hello! Its earned income, all of it should be taxed like the rest of us. NO! The TAX system is so designed to favor the rich, the more you make the less percentage you pay because of all of the loop holes created by those politicians.
Like a schmuck, I earned a tenth of that 344 million and paid almost double.
Next, Exxon Mobile earned last year 19 BILLION after paying dividends and salaries, didn’t pay a nickel in taxes and even garnered a 4.5 billion dollar tax credit. The average Multi national corporation domiciled here in the USA, only paid 3% in corporate taxes.
AND NOW FOR AN ENCORE! All corporations can now contribute unlimited and pay off all of the politicians they want to do their bidding for them under the guise of secrecy. This is the final chapter of corporation entrapping the population in to permanent enslavement. CORPTOCRACY, it’s in the making. Hello! I’m a small little, little, little businessman and I see it coming.

The rich say that they contribute 40% to the tax base; they have also earned 80% of the wealth over the past 30 years while wages have gone down. YES! 98% of the population shared 20% of all the wealth. The nerve to say that they believe that we should keep extending the Bush Tax breaks, “good money for doing nothing and putting it in your bank account”, keep voting Republican.
The Republicans argument is the same, that these tax deductions if they go away will cause downward pressure on the economy. “Crap”. Yes if you just received several million dollars from those corporations or wealthy individuals you best be doing their bidding and argue for their financial interests or you shall be cut off and most likely out of a job. THIS IS CALLED BRIBERY, CURRUPTION, FRAUD, but as a politician it’s all legal, but if a common citizen dies it we go to jail.
FYI Charlie Rangel didn’t pay his taxes for 17 years on the income he received from his home in the Dominican Republic, goes scot free, doesn’t have to pay the taxes. Hello!

Here is a better argument for the Democrats opposing the tax breaks for the rich. I have been in business all of my life, 45 years, from 1 employee to 300, in facilities all over the world, the USA, Mexico and Thailand, with sales volumes from 1 million to 40 million. Always focused on what I needed to do to continue to make my salary, never did I change the focus and strategy on my business plan because my personal tax bite went up or down.
Have pulled a salary from 30K to 250K at different times in my life, never did I come into work the day after I paid my taxes and say to the staff, “change the business plan” I now have to pay 10K more in taxes, fire the first person who is late, cut vacation pay by 1 week, no more sick days.
No one, with any sanity or business sense is going to change course in a business because they personally have additional expenses. They may give up some personal hobby, take one less vacation but never change what is bringing in their revenue stream.
Changing the course of a business that is doing say 1-3-4 million in sales, generating 1-2-300K per year, paying the bills for my family, because of some 4% change in my taxes is crazy. My business is not broken why would I try changing it.

Keep voting Republican folks, and this current economic malaise we are in may look like Christmas before we are done, and by the way the Democrats, which I did vote for are only slightly better.

November 20 2010 at 6:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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