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Wage Growth Slows, Widening Pay Gap Among Major US Cities

By Alex Tanzi

Wage growth is slowing down in the US economy as a whole — but not everywhere.

A dealer counts US dollars at a money exchange market in Karachi Photographer: Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images

The gap between pay hikes across major American cities widened last quarter, according to data published Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The difference between the fastest and slowest increases in employment costs among 15 major metros rose to 4 percentage points, matching the highest figure of the pandemic period. It hasn’t been bigger since 2016.

Overall US employment costs for private industry rose in the second quarter at the slowest pace in two years, the BLS reported, reflecting a labor market that is gradually cooling. 

Read More: US Employment Costs Rise at Slowest Quarterly Pace in Two Years

In Philadelphia, though, the 6.6% jump in employment costs from a year earlier was the biggest in data going back to 2006. At 5.7%, the Washington metro area matched last quarter’s record high. 

Meanwhile in Houston, pay increased just 2.6% from last year. The city has ranked bottom among the 15 major cities for the past three quarters. 

The second-lowest wage increases came in Minneapolis, at 4.1% — but workers there are at least getting ahead of the cost of living. The city reported an inflation rate of just 1.8% in May, the lowest for any major metro in the country. 

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