Atlanta wages up, but not as fast as housing costs

It looks like most working people in Atlanta have been getting raises, but the average bump of 1.5 percent may not be enough to cover the increase in rent or mortgage.

There’s been sluggish growth in wages pretty much across the board, with the best pay hikes coming in jobs that are not that high-paying, according to a report from Glassdoor.

“Wage growth continued its slightly upward trend in September,” said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist of the California-based online job site. “However, at this snail’s pace of wage growth, it will take roughly 40 years for U.S. median annual pay to double.”

Meanwhile, prices in the metro Atlanta housing market are rising. The median price of a home in metro Atlanta has increased 6.7 percent in the past year, according to the most recent report from Re/Max Georgia.

And rent for apartments – increasingly a choice for young professionals in metro Atlanta – is up an average of 2.6 percent from a year ago, according to Apartment List, a national web site for rental listings.

Alpharetta’s rents, the most expensive in the area, have outpaced wage gains in the region the most, rising 3.4 percent during the past year, said Andrew Woo, a data scientist with the company.

But job growth has continued. While wages may not be keeping up with costs, demand is at least nudging wages in the right direction.

The aging of the area’s population has added to the need for health-care workers, including pharmacy technicians, nurses and nurses’ assistants, Chamberlain said.

On average, their pay is up in Atlanta, he said. That is “a trend which is likely being fueled by rising demand for care from aging baby boomers.”

Atlanta is increasingly a destination for retirement.

The needs for certain technology jobs are also outpacing supply, he said. “Sophisticated technology jobs like solutions architects and web designers are increasingly in demand.”

Unfortunately the supply-demand equation also works in reverse, he said. “As the need for single-skilled developers like java developers and web developers has waned, so has wage growth for those positions.”

The median pay for metro Atlanta’s 2.9 million employed people is $53,025, according to Glassdoor.

Nationally, median pay is $51,491, but the growth is slightly stronger than Atlanta’s. The U.S. median is up 1.8 percent.


AJC Business reporter Michael E. Kanell keeps you updated on the latest news about jobs, housing and consumer issues in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in local business news. Subscribe to 

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

Business stories of the week: Amazon, 2018 priorities, Phipps Plaza
Business stories of the week: Amazon, 2018 priorities, Phipps Plaza

The week had no shortage of business headlines among Atlanta area companies – or perhaps companies that want to become Atlanta area companies. From the Amazon second headquarters search to major development projects, here are some of the big business headlines you might have missed from the past week. Georgia and Atlanta area economic development...
More job cuts coming to Atlanta as part of Coca-Cola restructuring
More job cuts coming to Atlanta as part of Coca-Cola restructuring

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola plans to cut an additional 179 jobs in its hometown as part of a broader restructuring the beverage giant announced earlier this year. In filings with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Workforce Division, Coke identified layoffs at three corporate offices in the city effective by the end of December...
Atlanta’s Phipps Plaza makeover plan shifts into overdrive
Atlanta’s Phipps Plaza makeover plan shifts into overdrive

The reinvention of Phipps Plaza into a mixed-use entertainment and shopping complex has been in the works for more than a decade. But the announcement Tuesday of a $200 million-plus expansion, including a flagship Nobu hotel and restaurant, will take that the makeover to a new level, officials with mall owner Simon hope. In Nobu, Phipps will add...
4 of the best ways to turn your home into a cash cow
4 of the best ways to turn your home into a cash cow

Your house is a large expense with many associated costs like a mortgage payment, insurance, maintenance and more. It provides a roof over your head, of course, but since it usually costs you money each month, why not put it to work for you and earn some cash in the process? The following are four ways your house can make you money: If you're planning...
6 things to know about working for Uber
6 things to know about working for Uber

Uber has been making headlines in recent months for everything from a new CEO to industry regulation. But if you want to work as a driver for the service that revolutionized the taxi-transport industry, there is more important information about Uber you'll want to check out. Here are six things you need to know about Uber before working for them...
More Stories