Southern California wages up 4.5% — biggest raises in U.S., by this measure – Daily News

on May9
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There’s more proof that a surging demand for workers has local bosses paying up for talent.

Southern California bosses increased pay at a 4.5% annual rate in the first quarter, the top wage hike among 15 major regions tracked by federal government researchers.

The Employment Cost Index for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties showed salary and wages in the private sector were up 3.1% a year earlier, No. 5 among the 15 big job markets. The region’s first-quarter gain was the largest in the government database dating back to the fourth quarter of 2006.

This lightly publicized index, sort of a Consumer Price Index for labor costs, is a quarterly measure that tries to minimize “the influence of employment shifts among occupations and industries.” National leaders in the quarter after Southern California included New York-New Jersey at 3.5%, San Jose-San Francisco at 3.3%, and Phoenix at 3.1%. Nationally, U.S. bosses raised pay by 3% in the quarter vs. 2.9% a year ago.

Other jobs data shows local bosses have been boosting payrolls for 101 months in a row, pushing employment in the four counties covered by the Southern California News Group to a record 7.7 million in March as the jobless rate fell to the 4.1%, the lowest this century for any March.

The pay slice of the March jobs report — a look at average private-sector weekly earnings — showed Southern California’s two metropolitan areas with paychecks rising at the fastest yearly pace in five years: 6.7% in L.A.-O.C. and 5.2% in the Inland Empire.

Southern California wages have been on the rise as the economic recovery has gained steam. The Employment Cost Index shows local wages rising at an average annual rate of 3.2% over the last three years after rising just 2.2% annually in the previous five years.

ICYMI: 12 hints at who’s getting those big pay raises

The cost index also tracks “total compensation,” which includes wages plus the employer’s cost of various benefits. In Southern California, compensation rose at a 3.5% annual rate in the first quarter — No. 2 among the big markets — vs. 3.2% a year earlier, the No. 5 performance.

Tops among the 15 for compensation hikes was New York-New Jersey at 3.9%. Phoenix was third at 3.1%, followed by and San Jose-San Francisco at 3%. U.S. compensation rose 2.8% in the quarter, the same as the start of 2018.

Southern California was part of a West Coast pay boost. Bosses in 13 Western states were more generous than the national norm with wages up 3.5% in the year while total compensation had a 2.9% increase.

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