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Cities with the Highest (and Lowest) Paying Jobs

Posted On
2/12/2016
By
SurePayroll

Payroll managers across the United States are churning out paychecks that vary more widely than you might think. A recent Forbes article chronicled pay scales by metropolitan area in 2010 and the results might surprise you.

For example, the highest paid workers in America, in order, are:

  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA. Overall median pay was $93,100, starting median pay $68,600 and mid-career median pay, $128,000.
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA. Overall median pay was $73,500, starting median pay $57San Fran skyline-53700_640,200 and mid-career median pay $108,000.
  • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CN. Overall median pay was $68,700, starting median pay $53,500 and mid-career median pay $95,500.
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC, VA, MD, WV. Overall median pay was $67,300, starting median pay $52,600 and mid-career median pay $101,000.
  • Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX. Overall median pay was $66,700, starting median pay $53,200 and mid-career median pay $94,600.

According to Forbes, the cities at the top of the list are not surprising considering they are dominated by such booming, high-wage industries such as IT, biotech, finance and oil. The figures were compiled by Payscale.com, a site that collects salary and career data from more than 35 million people.

Conversely, at the bottom of the scale among metropolitan areas are two rust belt industrial area, a border city and two other areas not blessed with booming high-waged employment bases.

The lowest paying metropolitan areas, starting with the lowest, were:

  • Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH, PA. Overall median pay was $45,400, starting median pay was $36,800 and mid-career median pay was $60,400.
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX. Overall median pay was $45,600, starting median pay was $39,000 and mid-career median pay $62,100.
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL. Overall median pay was $46,500, starting median pay $40,000 and mid-career median pay $60,100.
  • El Paso, TX. Overall median pay was $46,900, starting median pay $39,600 and mid-career median pay $60,100.
  • Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, PA. Overall median pay was $47,400, starting median pay $38,400 and mid-career median pay $63,000.

Experts in pay scale economics were surprised by the disparity from the top and bottom of the nationwide pay levels.

"The range in pay is pretty astounding in that the metro area at the top of the list has workers with median pay more than double the metro area at the bottom of the list," says Katie Bardaro, Payscale's lead economist. "The cities at the top of the list are not too surprising, as they are dominated by high wage industries like tech (both IT and Biotech), finance or oil."

Of course, the pay levels only tell part of the story. The highest paying regions also tend to be the costliest in terms of housing, gasoline and other essentials. And, the lowest paying regions tend to be the cheapest to live in.

Young employees with geographical flexibility in seeking employment can certainly use the numbers as a starting point in their research.