Despite the strong pace of hiring in April, the average wage barely budged.
But that average masked a wide range of wage gains and losses from one part of the country to another.
A CNBC analysis of the latest local area wage data finds that in the past 12 months, average weekly pay has risen as much as 13.3 percent in Blacksburg, Virginia, and fallen by 12.2 percent in College Station, Texas.
The overall weak pace of job growth in April has some economists scratching their heads—wondering why a strong pickup in the pace of hiring hasn't translated into rising wages in workers' paychecks.
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"Given the encouraging mix of net jobs created, it was a bit disconcerting to see that average hourly earnings increased by only one tenth percent (monthly increase) in April," wrote Capital Economics' chief U.S. economist, Paul Ashworth, in a research note. That puts annual weekly wage growth at just 2.2. percent
But Ashworth notes that another widely watched measure of wages, the quarterly employment cost index, posted a healthier 2.7 percent gain over the past year.
"The stagnation in average hourly earnings growth is beginning to look very suspicious," he said.
The strong pace of hiring—nearly 3 million new jobs were created last year, the biggest annual gain in 15 years—has made it harder for some companies to find qualified applicants. Around 5.1 million job openings remained unfilled at the end of February, the latest data available, the highest level since January 2001.
Tight labor markets are supposed to push wages higher, as employers compete for scarce skilled workers. Business surveys of both small enterprises and large corporations have recently found that hiring managers are having a tougher time filling positions and expect to raise wages this year to attract or keep workers.
Wages have been rising, but only in some metro areas around the country. In the 12 months ended in March, the average weekly wage was flat or lower in 185 of the 370 metro areas tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.