As the U.S. economy continues its expansion, wage growth is finally starting to catch up, and workers at the bottom of the income spectrum — including much of the retail industry — are beginning to reap the benefits of the tight labor market.
A new report from Glassdoor analyzing hiring trends in the 10 largest cities in the country sheds light on where some of these gains are concentrated. Looking at April data for four job titles — buyer, cashier, retail key holder and store manager — the employment review site found that it was the lowest-paid position that saw the fastest wage growth throughout the year. Cashiers made a median base pay of $27,821, a 4.6% increase over last year, compared with 0.8% growth for buyers ($58,580), 1.9% for retail key holders ($29,352) and 1.1% growth for store managers ($50,297).
This finding tracks with the most recent data from the Labor Department, which show that the bottom 25% of earners have seen their pay increase at a faster rate than higher-income workers over the past year.
Still, the city with the biggest wage gains is also one of the most expensive: cashiers in San Francisco (where the surrounding region’s median home price is $830,000, according to the data firm CoreLogic) saw their pay increase 5.9% to $34,971, while higher-paying positions saw gains of between 2 and 3%.
Cashiers in Atlanta got a 5.5% pay bump to $26,609 — an increase that will likely go further in a metro area with a median home price of $275,000, according to the Atlanta Realtors Association. Buyers’ pay in the Georgia capital increased 1.6% to $60,522, key holders’ 2.7% to $29,593 and store managers’ 1.9% to $52,711.
The only city where pay for most retail positions actually decreased throughout the year? Houston. There, buyers’ pay dropped 1.1% to $60,162, key holders’ 0.1% to $29,050 and store managers’ 0.8% to $52,365. Cashiers’ pay edged up slightly (2.6% to $26,807), but at a rate about half that of other cities.
According to the Labor Department, average hourly earnings in the retail sector rose 4.7% year over year in April to $19.47, ahead of the overall growth rate of 3.1%.
The Retail Industry Lags Far Behind in Closing the Gender Pay Gap
How Amazon’s $15 Minimum Wage Hike Will Pressure the Retail Industry