The average salary in the US continues to climb, signaling a workforce expansion boom thriving independent of inflation and changing economic climates. The latest data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) points to an increase in wages across various industries, reflecting the growing demands for skilled professionals even in the face of the threatening reality that the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) as a cheaper replacement for human labor poses.
According to the same BLS report, payroll employment increased by 339,000 in May, despite a sharp rise in the unemployment rate to 3.7%, from 3.4% in April (marking an all-time low in the unemployment rate in the United States since 1969). Zip Recruiter reports an average annual pay of $58,563 for an American in the United States. This figure represents a 4.6% increase compared to the previous year, indicating steady progress in wage growth.
While several factors determine why individual salaries vary significantly, the upward trend in the average wage continues to be a big win for payroll employees in the United States.
Critical Factors in Determining Average Salary in the US
More Certifications Equals More Pay
Education emerges as a critical factor in determining salary levels. As an employee with advanced degrees or specialized skills, you will likely experience a drastic wage increase compared to uneducated and manual job seekers.
A Social Security Administration (SSA) study found that males with bachelor's degrees earn $900 000 more in a lifetime than men with high school graduates and that males with Ph.D. earn 1.5 million more.
Women with bachelor's degrees earn $630 000 more than their high school graduates. Those with Ph.D. earned $1.1 million more. While this highlights the gender pay gap that is sadly still present in the employee payroll, the salary gap shows how education influences employee pay in the United States.
Technology-Driven Fields Play a Substantial Role
The global digital revolution is in full swing. The expansion of AI into everyday tasks is a testament to unprecedented technological advancements, and workers specializing in technology tend to enjoy a substantial boost in average salaries. Positions in software development, cyber security, and data analysis continue to be in high demand, despite conversations around their possible displacement by AI and if the height of the AI boom will surface.
Skilled professionals in tech go home with higher pay than employees in most other fields. For instance, the average annual wage of a software developer in the United States stands at $105,047 annually, almost doubling the national average salary.
Where You Live Matters
Location is another factor influencing salary disparities across the United States. With higher living expenses, metropolitan cities like San Francisco, New York, and Seattle pay workers more. The thriving industries and competitive market in the sky-scraping municipalities also drive the bump in the average salary compared to wages in remote areas. On the contrary, the need for more competitive jobs in rural areas results in lower average salaries. Industries in rural areas often have only odd jobs to offer, and the lower cost of living in rural areas means employers can cut costs on salary payments.
Industry Demands Trump All
Beyond education, tech-savviness, and where you reside, industry demands trump the determining factors of the average salary in the US. For instance, healthcare and medical occupations are experiencing unprecedented growth due to industry demands, offering highly competitive salaries than most other industries.
The industry demand is driven by an aging population needing medical care. The Census Bureau reports that more than 1 in 6 Americans are now 65 years or older in the United States. According to the BLS, the need to take care of this aging population has pushed the average annual salary of registered nurses in the US to $77600 in 2021, for a slightly steep figure of $82,750 in 2020. Shortage of labor driving industry demands could further up the average salary of employees in those industries.
Most Available Jobs in the US
Since the Great Resignation, 47 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs in 2021, according to the HBR (Harvard Business Review). This is partly due to the pandemic that spiraled the American workforce into an unprecedented labor shortage. This reality has upended the relationships between potential employees and the labor market.
Factors such as the pandemic and the need for industries to adapt to emerging trends alongside the technological, political, and economic landscapes drive the hunger for new staffing, with the BLS announcing 10.1 million job openings on the last business day of April 2023. This is a new high compared to the previous month, with 358 thousand fewer jobs, a pointer to the growing availability of new jobs with the following openings topping the list.
In the last three years, job openings in the health sector have reached unprecedented levels, with nursing topping the list of most available jobs in the United States. Coupling factors like the pandemic and an aging population have seen demands for certified nurses grow, with the BLS projecting steady annual growth in employment rate upward of 6% from 2021 to 2031.
Delivery drivers are in high demand, a function of the online shopping culture growing increasingly high, primarily due to the traversing of day workers to remote workers during and post Covid-19. The declaration of Covid-19 as contained did not stop the demand surge for delivery drivers. This is attributed mainly to the upward trend in the US consumer index, with more people preferring to shop online rather than go into physical stores like Walmart.
Sales Support Assistant
In the highly competitive sales world, the role of a sales support assistant has become indispensable, making it one of the most available jobs in the United States. Support assistants provide administrative support to the sales team, engaging in essential tasks, including order processing, inventory management, and customer service, which are critical to closing sales. The need to strengthen customers' experience is non-negotiable, and most firms are looking to hire competent sales support assistants to keep existing clients, woo new clients, and make more profits.
Customer Service Representative
While some organizations expect sales support assistants to include customer service in their offerings, many organizations in the United States understand excellent customer service as a critical differential for businesses. This culture of a dedicated customer service team has increased demands for competent hands capable of handling inquiries and resolving customers' complaints.
Sharing semblance with the delivery drivers, truck drivers are equally one of the most available jobs in the US. Delivery truckers are essential to the thriving e-commerce industry as they transport goods over long distances, ensuring timely and safe delivery of products to eagerly awaiting consumers.
With demands for professional nurses on the rise, nursing assistants provide essential patient care services to ease the jobs of certified nurses. Nursing assistants manage daily activities such as monitoring vital signs and handling bedpans. Nursing assistants are significant to the healthcare industry in maintaining quality healthcare services.
Technicians such as automotive, HVAC, and maintenance technicians have an advantage since their services intersperse several industries, thereby making technicians highly sought after. Demands for technicians distill from the constant need for infrastructure maintenance in the United States. Repair sectors like automotive, construction, and manufacturing are also in continual need of experienced technicians.
Nearly every sector of the American economy increasingly relies on digital solutions. 2023 saw the rise in popularity of AI and other technological advancements. Software developers are in high demand since their expertise is crucial in designing, coding, and maintaining software applications and systems.
The trend for software engineering jobs is expected to increase in the following decades as the United States joins the rest of the developed world to metamorphose into a more complex era of AI and machine learning.
Efficient workforce management is the backbone of every productive workspace. Businesses have continued to strive to optimize their operations, thereby causing the role of shift managers to gain more prominence. Shift managers ensure adequate supervision and coordination in every industry, including retail, hospitality, and manufacturing, making it one of the most available jobs in the US.
The United States continues to invest in infrastructure. Congress struck a bipartisan infrastructure deal in 2021, committing over $65 billion to infrastructural developments across the 50 states. According to BLS, engineering is pivotal in shaping infrastructure, and the demand for engineering jobs is expected to grow by four percent through 2031.
Average Salary In The US
In conclusion, the upward trajectory of the average salary in the US showcases the remarkable resilience and adaptability of the workforce in the midst of changing economic landscapes. Despite concerns about the potential impact of artificial intelligence on job security, the latest findings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics provide encouraging evidence of a thriving labor market. This surge in wages across industries demonstrates the enduring demand for skilled professionals who can navigate the complexities of an evolving technological landscape. As the workforce continues to evolve, it is essential for individuals to embrace lifelong learning and cultivate new skills to remain competitive in an ever-changing job market.