January 10, 2012

Finding Pay Rates In a Specific City

People in a specific occupation will make different wages in different cities.   You can find wide variations in pay from state to state or city to city.     You might safely assume that pay for nurses is likely to be higher on average in San Francisco or New York City high cost of living cities generally end up with higher pay rates.   But even that isn't a guarantee and its possible some jobs get paid more in Wyoming or Louisiana than N.Y.C.  

If you are job hunting or thinking of relocating then it can be particularly useful to know typical wages for  a specific occupation in different cities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks median pay for most common occupations and they also break it down to cover wages by occupation for individual metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas.   You can find the data online at : May 2010 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
Granted this is a little over a year old now but its close enough and wages won't have changed hugely since then.

The list on the BLS site is organized by state.  First you can find your state and city then click on its link.   If the city in question isn't listed then you can try the closest city.    If you are going to be in a small town or rural area then you can look at the "nonmetropolitan" area that is closest.  This will take you to a page with a list of major occupation categories.   From there you can pick your general field and it will give you a list of occupations and the average wages in the city in question.  

So say you are a nurse and you're thinking about moving to Las Vegas, Nevada.   You would want to know how much  nurses typically make in Vegas versus your current home of Sacramento California.   You can just look up both cities in the list on the BLS site and then find the mean wages there.   Mean pay in Vegas is $75,040 and Sacramento is $93,420.  


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