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Wages declining for Rhode Island science jobs?

Posted on April 19, 2015

Wages are possibly on the decline for Rhode Island science jobs, according to a new survey from Payscale.

The Q1 2015 PayScale Index shows national wages for Q1 barely increased at 0.1 percent and the average 12-month change in U.S. wages across all industries was 1.8 percent. Of note, previous top performing sectors such as the professional, scientific and technical services industry and the oil and gas industry experienced a decline in Q1.

Construction jobs and the real estate industry which saw wages decline in recent years are now showing signs of recovery. Finally, the Index shows wage growth continues to lag, as real wages are down almost 7 percent since 2006, a measure calculated by analyzing nominal wage growth and the average change in price of a fixed basket of goods and services.

Key findings in the Q1 2015 PayScale Index:

  • STEM focused jobs experienced a slow-down:
    • Wages for previously ‘hot-performing’ IT, engineering, science and biotech jobs fell slightly in Q1 and have been relatively flat for several months. For example, science and biotech jobs grew just 1.0 percent annually, experiencing the lowest wage growth of any category. However, these jobs are still near the top for wage growth since 2006 (approximately 10 percent), due to remarkable growth for several years.
  • Industry Highlights:
    • Although the oil and gas industry experienced the highest total wage growth since 2006 at 19 percent, declining oil prices resulted in the lowest annual wage growth of any industry at 0.8 percent. Similarly, the oil city of Houston experienced a wage dip in Q1 as wages fell 0.2 percent from Q4 2014 and rose only 1.2 percent annually (behind the national average of 1.8 percent).
    • Real estate tied with the wholesale trade industry for the largest annual growth for Q1 at 3 percent and wages in real estate grew more than 5 percent since their low point in Q3 2013. Wage growth in the real estate industry mirrors recent increases in the housing market.
    • Similar to real estate, the construction industry also experienced a recovery with annual wage growth of 2.7 percent. A previous wage loser, annual wage growth for construction jobs topped the list for all job categories with 2.9 percent.
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