Workers in these industries had the biggest pay raises this year

May 20, 2023
4 mins read
Workers in these industries had the biggest pay raises this year

Workers have had the advantage over employers in recent yearsβ€”for the first time in about two decades. The presence of more job openings than unemployed people has meant many businesses have had to offer higher pay, better benefits, and other perks to draw in workers.

On average, private sector wages increased 4.3% in the year from March 2022 to March 2023. That wage increase was outpaced by inflation, which rose 5% in that same period, though it is slowing. In April, inflation was slightly lower, at 4.9%.

Among the most lucrative fields for workers have been industries that bounced back from the coronavirus pandemic, top among them the travel and energy sectors.

International travel in 2022 reached 63% of the level in 2019β€”the year before the pandemic beganβ€”and global tourism is expected to improve even more in 2023, though economic uncertainty could change that projection.

As far as energy, restrictions on businesses reduced demand during the pandemic. But demand returned to pre-pandemic levels quickly as countries emerged from lockdowns. Average wages rose in the oil and gas sectorβ€”particularly in Texas, for example.

Just six of the 80 industries included in the analysis saw wage decreases over the year.

Stacker used Bureau of Labor Statistics data to compare 80 industries and find the ones with the largest pay increases from March 2022 to March 2023. Some percentages that appear to be ties are not at more precise decimal values. The analysis also shows the monthly change in pay.

A worker handing paper bags to two customers.
Canva

#50. General merchandise retailers

– March 2023 average wage: $20.74 per hour
– Annual change: +4.1%
– Monthly change: -1.3%

An engineer repairing a desert telephone line.
Canva

#49. Telecommunications

– March 2023 average wage: $42.07 per hour
– Annual change: +4.3%
– Monthly change: +0.6%

A package courier carrying boxes while squinting in the sunlight.
Canva

#48. Couriers and messengers

– March 2023 average wage: $24.00 per hour
– Annual change: +4.3%
– Monthly change: -0.5%

Doctors walking down a hospital hallway.
Canva

#47. Hospitals

– March 2023 average wage: $40.46 per hour
– Annual change: +4.5%
– Monthly change: +0.4%

Warehouse workers speaking with a supervisor.
Canva

#46. Warehousing and storage

– March 2023 average wage: $23.31 per hour
– Annual change: +4.5%
– Monthly change: +1.5%

A seamstress working in a textile factory.
Canva

#45. Apparel manufacturing

– March 2023 average wage: $24.48 per hour
– Annual change: +4.7%
– Monthly change: +1.0%

Metal and plasma at a metal fabricating facility.
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#44. Fabricated metal product manufacturing

– March 2023 average wage: $29.78 per hour
– Annual change: +4.7%
– Monthly change: +0.3%

A nurse measuring a patient's blood pressure.
Canva

#43. Nursing and residential care facilities

– March 2023 average wage: $23.98 per hour
– Annual change: +4.8%
– Monthly change: +0.4%

A museum guide explaining an exhibit to a group of students and their teacher.
Canva

#42. Museums, historical sites, and similar institutions

– March 2023 average wage: $28.01 per hour
– Annual change: +4.9%
– Monthly change: -0.1%

A manufacturing engineer operating machinery at a factory.
Canva

#41. Machinery manufacturing

– March 2023 average wage: $33.78 per hour
– Annual change: +4.9%
– Monthly change: +0.4%

An architect taking measurements using a model.
Canva

#40. Architectural, engineering, and related services

– March 2023 average wage: $46.35 per hour
– Annual change: +5.0%
– Monthly change: +0.5%

A utility worker fixing a broken water main.
Canva

#39. Utilities

– March 2023 average wage: $49.23 per hour
– Annual change: +5.0%
– Monthly change: +0.6%

A dealer running a table at a casino.
Canva

#38. Amusement, gambling, and recreation industries

– March 2023 average wage: $22.83 per hour
– Annual change: +5.1%
– Monthly change: +0.6%

Shelves of vitamins in a retail location.
Canva

#37. Health and personal care retailers

– March 2023 average wage: $28.71 per hour
– Annual change: +5.2%
– Monthly change: +0.5%

A real estate agent speaking with a client outside a home.
Canva

#36. Real estate

– March 2023 average wage: $33.74 per hour
– Annual change: +5.2%
– Monthly change: +0.6%

A gas station and convenience store with one car at a pump.
Canva

#35. Gasoline stations and fuel dealers

– March 2023 average wage: $19.45 per hour
– Annual change: +5.2%
– Monthly change: +0.5%

A row of microwaves on an assembly line.
Andrew Will // Shutterstock

#34. Electrical equipment, appliance, and component manufacturing

– March 2023 average wage: $32.36 per hour
– Annual change: +5.3%
– Monthly change: +2.0%

A driver walking towards a semitruck.
Canva

#33. Truck transportation

– March 2023 average wage: $30.23 per hour
– Annual change: +5.3%
– Monthly change: 0.0%

A plumbing contractor finishing the installation of a sanitary pipeline.
Canva

#32. Specialty trade contractors

– March 2023 average wage: $34.94 per hour
– Annual change: +5.4%
– Monthly change: +0.1%

Heavy construction equipment in front of a blue sky.
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#31. Heavy and civil engineering construction

– March 2023 average wage: $36.86 per hour
– Annual change: +5.5%
– Monthly change: +0.7%

A wholesale warehouse with many packages.
Canva

#30. Merchant wholesalers, durable goods

– March 2023 average wage: $36.43 per hour
– Annual change: +5.5%
– Monthly change: +0.1%

The stylish interior of a modern clothing store.
Canva

#29. Clothing, clothing accessories, shoe, and jewelry retailers

– March 2023 average wage: $24.06 per hour
– Annual change: +5.7%
– Monthly change: +0.0%

Construction workers on site at sunset.
Canva

#28. Construction of buildings

– March 2023 average wage: $38.33 per hour
– Annual change: +5.7%
– Monthly change: +0.7%

A car insurance agent explaining a policy to a client.
Canva

#27. Insurance carriers and related activities

– March 2023 average wage: $42.37 per hour
– Annual change: +5.7%
– Monthly change: +0.1%

A worker repairing tiles in a home.
Canva

#26. Repair and maintenance

– March 2023 average wage: $28.20 per hour
– Annual change: +5.8%
– Monthly change: +0.8%

A scientific consulting manager in a lab.
Canva

#25. Management, scientific, and technical consulting services

– March 2023 average wage: $48.49 per hour
– Annual change: +5.9%
– Monthly change: +1.3%

A machine for manufacturing plastic bags.
Canva

#24. Plastics and rubber products manufacturing

– March 2023 average wage: $28.70 per hour
– Annual change: +5.9%
– Monthly change: +0.6%

A lawyer speaking with a client.
Canva

#23. Legal services

– March 2023 average wage: $56.13 per hour
– Annual change: +6.0%
– Monthly change: +0.5%

A janitor cleaning the floor of an office building.
Canva

#22. Facilities support services

– March 2023 average wage: $28.14 per hour
– Annual change: +6.0%
– Monthly change: +0.6%

Two concierges working behind the desk at a hotel.
Canva

#21. Accommodation

– March 2023 average wage: $23.33 per hour
– Annual change: +6.0%
– Monthly change: +0.6%

A scientific researcher looking into a microscope.
Canva

#20. Scientific research and development services

– March 2023 average wage: $59.63 per hour
– Annual change: +6.0%
– Monthly change: +0.2%

An engineer operating a machine in an industrial factory.
Canva

#19. Primary metal manufacturing

– March 2023 average wage: $32.22 per hour
– Annual change: +6.1%
– Monthly change: +0.8%

A graphic designer sketching a logo.
Canva

#18. Specialized design services

– March 2023 average wage: $39.29 per hour
– Annual change: +6.2%
– Monthly change: +0.2%

A social worker talking to a person during a home visit.
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#17. Social assistance

– March 2023 average wage: $21.44 per hour
– Annual change: +6.3%
– Monthly change: +0.2%

A bartender preparing a drink.
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#16. Food services and drinking places

– March 2023 average wage: $19.38 per hour
– Annual change: +6.3%
– Monthly change: +0.3%

A person working on an intricate wood carving.
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#15. Wood product manufacturing

– March 2023 average wage: $25.76 per hour
– Annual change: +6.4%
– Monthly change: +0.6%

An accountant processing an invoice at their desk.
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#14. Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services

– March 2023 average wage: $41.24 per hour
– Annual change: +6.5%
– Monthly change: +0.7%

A person working in a furniture factory.
Canva

#13. Furniture and related product manufacturing

– March 2023 average wage: $26.88 per hour
– Annual change: +6.6%
– Monthly change: -0.3%

Two cameras filming a television show.
Canva

#12. Broadcasting and content providers

– March 2023 average wage: $47.65 per hour
– Annual change: +6.8%
– Monthly change: -0.1%

An orchestra performing in a larger theater.
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#11. Performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries

– March 2023 average wage: $38.30 per hour
– Annual change: +7.0%
– Monthly change: +0.1%

A gray train stopped in a subway station.
Canva

#10. Transit and ground passenger transportation

– March 2023 average wage: $25.60 per hour
– Annual change: +7.2%
– Monthly change: -0.6%

Food manufacturing at a factory.
Canva

#9. Food manufacturing

– March 2023 average wage: $25.60 per hour
– Annual change: +7.2%
– Monthly change: +1.0%

A waste sorting facility.
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#8. Waste management and remediation services

– March 2023 average wage: $32.61 per hour
– Annual change: +7.3%
– Monthly change: +0.4%

A wholesale warehouse with many packages.
Canva

#7. Wholesale trade agents and brokers

– March 2023 average wage: $45.99 per hour
– Annual change: +7.5%
– Monthly change: +0.6%

A display of contemporary fiction books.
Canva

#6. Sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument, book, and miscellaneous retailers

– March 2023 average wage: $22.98 per hour
– Annual change: +7.5%
– Monthly change: +0.6%

A display of garden equipment in a store.
Koy_Hipster // Shutterstock

#5. Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers

– March 2023 average wage: $22.13 per hour
– Annual change: +8.1%
– Monthly change: +0.9%

A business consultant meeting with a client.
Canva

#4. Business support services

– March 2023 average wage: $26.91 per hour
– Annual change: +9.4%
– Monthly change: +0.4%

An written draft marked in red pen.
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#3. Publishing industries

– March 2023 average wage: $54.05 per hour
– Annual change: +11.8%
– Monthly change: +1.1%

An offshore oil rig at sunset.
Canva

#2. Oil and gas extraction

– March 2023 average wage: $51.19 per hour
– Annual change: +12.3%
– Monthly change: +0.3%

A travel agent handing tickets to two customers.
Canva

#1. Travel arrangement and reservation services

– March 2023 average wage: $33.92 per hour
– Annual change: +13.1%
– Monthly change: +0.0%

Data reporting by Paxtyn Merten. Story editing by Jeff Inglis. Copy editing by Tim Bruns. Photo selection by Abigail Renaud.

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