The Best Counties for Wage Gains


New jobs are great, but where in America are workers getting nice raises in pay?

The good news is that employment increased 319 of the 342 largest U.S. counties (counties with 75,000 or more jobs in 2014) from June 2014 to June 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The five counties with the largest increases in employment levels were Los Angeles, Calif.;

Dallas, Texas; Maricopa, Ariz.; New York, N.Y.; and King, Wash. These counties had a combined over-the-year employment gain of 302,900 jobs.

This was 10.7% of the overall job increase for the entire U.S.

Along with those new jobs came higher wages: the U.S. average weekly wage increased 3% over the year, growing to $968 in the second quarter of 2015.

That’s an overall figure; some counties did better than others.

Among them, Ventura, California had the largest over-the-year percentage increase in average weekly

wages with a gain of 15.2%.

Within Ventura, an average weekly wage gain of $934, or 53.8%, in manufacturing made the largest contribution to the county’s increase in average weekly wages.

On the other end of the spectrum was Olmsted, Minnesota, which experienced the largest percentage decrease in average weekly wages with a loss of 5.2% over the year.

If you’re thinking of relocating in 2016, be sure to consider not just the unemployment rate, but the median income and cost of living figures for any area you’re looking at moving to.

Last year, the states of the upper Midwest had some of the lowest unemployment rates, combined with nice wages and relatively low cost of living numbers. Olmsted, Minnesota was the exception to an otherwise bright picture for the area.

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