Despite steady job growth and a drop in the unemployment rate from 10 percent during 2009 to 6.1 percent in August, most Americans have received little increase in pay.
Average wages, before inflation, have risen only about 2 percent a year since the downturn ended five years ago. That's far below the 3.5 percent to 4 percent that's typical of healthier recoveries.
Just why pay has been so weak and when it might strengthen are key issues for the Federal Reserve in deciding when to raise interest rates.
Still, some industries have fared better, particularly financial services. Average pay in that industry — which includes banking, insurance and Wall Street traders — has risen 16.2 percent over the past five years. That's better than the 10.2 percent average for private-sector employees overall.
Here are the average hourly wages earned in 12 large industries tracked by the government:
|August 2009||August 2014||Change|
|Data analytics, film, broadcasting||29.65||34.08||14.9%|
|Professional services *||27.05||29.26||8.2%|
|Education and health||22.27||24.76||11.2%|
|Restaurants, hotels, entertainment||13.00||13.95||7.3%|
|* Includes engineers, architects, accountants|
|Bureau of Labor Statistics|