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Best Cities to Earn More

Best Cities to Earn More

Dona DeZube | Monster Finance Careers Expert

October 20, 2009

Despite the gloomy economy and bleak job outlook, there are scattered cities where wages are rising and the number of jobs is increasing. Washington, DC, and several parts of Texas top the list, but cities as far apart as Anchorage and East Baton Rouge, Louisiana, continued to experience job and wage growth at the end of last year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

More recent regional data collected by pollster Gallup also showed bright spots, says Dennis Jacobe, Gallup’s chief economist. “Our numbers are showing the job picture is best in the South,” he says. “Conditions in the Midwest, which is a terribly depressed area, seemed to have stabilized some, and the West is having a hard time.”

Measuring local job-market conditions can be tricky, says David Hiles, BLS branch chief. If you look solely for rising wages, you might find them in a county where layoffs have pushed lower-paid, less-experienced workers from the market. In those cases, the remaining workforce may have a higher average wage.

That may be the case in Boise, Idaho; Fort Myers, Florida; Las Vegas; Phoenix; and Stockton, California, which saw average wages rise by about 1.6 percent to 2.6 percent in the first quarter of 2009, while total employment fell, according to the Brookings Institute’s MetorMonitor report, which tracks the economic health of America’s 100 largest metropolitan economies.

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