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.

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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 myAJC.com, including these stories:

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