California Dolphin: statewide California news

Southern California’s average pay hike? $2 a week

If your pay raise has felt a little thin, you weren’t alone.
Newly released federal employment stats show Southern California’s average weekly wage was $1,086 in last year’s third quarter. That’s up $2 in a year, or a hike of 0.17 percent.
That disheartening news comes from my trusty spreadsheet’s review of the so-called “quarterly census of employment and wages,” which uses data from a study of unemployment insurance filings. It takes the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics five months to compile and is generally more accurate than monthly jobs data provided by the state.
Bosses have been stingy with pay hikes throughout the recovery, even as a hiring spree continues and the supply of skilled labor has shrunk. The better news for the region comprising Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties in this third-quarter report was more paychecks: Jobs grew in the year by 120,697, or 1.65 percent.
But the region’s latest meager pay hikes are a reversal from what’s been seen during the last five years. The average local worker’s weekly wage has grown at a pace of $25 a year, or 2.5 percent … if you needed perspective on how small a $2 hike is! Please note that average weekly pay can be a volatile statistic, as various anomalies can skew the trend — from a few huge paydays to a flood of low-wage workers to changes in how many workers got no raise at all.
Still, the pattern of slim raises and noteworthy job growth was also seen nationally.
U.S. weekly wages averaged $1,021 in the third quarter, down $9 in a year, or a 0.6 percent drop. That’s painful considering the average American worker since 2012 saw weekly wages rising $23 a year, or 2.4 percent annual hikes. Still, opportunities to earn a paycheck grew as U.S. bosses added 1.43 million jobs in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, or 1 percent growth.
Local weekly wages rose only in Los Angeles County. Here’s how pay changed in the four local counties for the third quarter: average weekly wage; raises, one-year-change vs. five years; and last year’s hiring pace …
L.A.: $1,147 wage; up $12 in a year, or 1.1 percent vs. the five-year average raise of $29 a week or 2.7 percent. Jobs grew 56,570 — 1.3 percent — to 4.4 million.
Orange County:  $1,135 wage; down $13 in a year, or 1.1 percent vs. five years at $22 a week or 2.1 percent. Jobs grew 22,071 — 1.4 percent — to 1.6 million.
Riverside County: $831 wage; down $11 in a year, or -1.3 percent vs. five years at $21 a week or 2.7 percent. Jobs grew 19,374 — 2.8 percent — to 710,000.
San Bernardino County: $864 wage; down $11 in a year, or 1.3 percent vs. five years at $19 a week or 2.3 percent. Jobs grew 22,682 — 3.2 percent — to 730,000.

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