Fourth quarter U.S. wage growth increased 4.4 percent.  Wage growth for both job holders and job switchers hit all-time highs of 5.9 percent and 8.0 percent respectively, according to the ADP Research Institute® Workforce Vitality Report (WVR) released today. In fact, wage growth for Generation Z (24 years old and younger) job holders saw the largest wage gains in December 2021 at 13.1 percent. Employment growth increased by 5.0 percent in December 2021.

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“ADP data showed U.S. wage growth increased 4.4 percent on average for all workers in December 2021, with job switchers and younger job holders who saw the largest wage growth,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP. “Leisure and hospitality, which experienced the greatest job loss due to the pandemic, was a notable exception to this overall trend. While leisure and hospitality led employment gains in the first half of 2021, it is the only industry where job switchers’ wages were basically flat on average in December 2021 compared to previous year.”

Employment growth year-over-year increased 5.0 percent, with all sectors experiencing employment growth. While leisure and hospitality led the way with a 17.7 percent increase, overall employment levels for the sector remain below their high-water mark prior to the pandemic. However, wage growth for job holders and job switchers was the strongest in industries including professional business services (12.2 percent) and information technology (12.2 percent).

Across the U.S., all regions experienced wage growth over 3.0 percent. While job switchers saw record-setting wage growth, job switchers in the West and Northeast received the biggest gain at 9.2 percent and 9.0 percent. By firm size, midsized companies with 500 to 999 employees increased wages the fastest, up 9.1 percent in December 2021 from one year prior.