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Biggest pay raises over 30 years

Over the last generation, pay for some professions has risen much faster than the overall rate of inflation.


fastest growing wages surgeon
  • 1983 median wage: $26,104*
  • 2012 median wage: $98,124
  • Increase: 276%

The medical profession has many factors that economists say are responsible for pushing up wages over the past 30 years: It's a fast growing field, it requires lots of new skills and demand exceeds supply.

As a result, the pay growth for doctors far exceeds the growth in overall inflation since 1983 -- which was 131%.

Jobs in fields that are slow growing, don't require fresh skills, and are subject to automation have seen the smallest wage growth. Butchers, bakers and factory workers have seen steep declines in inflation-adjusted wages since the early 1980s.

Source: CNN analysis of 45 professions in the Current Population Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Note: *Numbers are not inflation adjusted. Overall inflation from 1983-2012 was 131%
Some professions with high wage inflation, such as chief executives and personal financial advisers, were not tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1983, and are excluded from this list.

  @hargreavesCNN - Last updated November 08 2013 03:37 AM ET

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