Puget Sound pay raises lag behind the rest of the nation

Feb 7, 2012

If you're disappointed with the pay raise (or lack of one) you received last year, you're not alone.

Total private sector compensation in the Puget Sound region rose just 1 percent in 2011, compared to 2.2 percent nationwide.

According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Seattle is in last place among four major metropolitan areas of the West when it comes to total compensation (wages and benefits) increases for private sector workers.

  1. Phoenix: 2.8 percent
  2. San Jose: 2.7 percent
  3. Los Angeles: 1.6 percent
  4. Seattle: 1.0 percent

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says benefits (health insurance, vacation, sick leave, retirement plans) make up about 30 percent of total compensation.

If you take benefits out of the picture, things look a little brighter here. Local wages and salaries increased 1.5 percent last year, compared to 1.6 percent nationwide. 

As previously reported, the cost of living in the Northwest rose significantly faster than wages did last year.

Will we do better in 2012?