Grand Rapids ranks seventh in fastest rising incomes

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The Grand Rapids metropolitan area has the seventh-fastest rising incomes among midsize metros in the U.S. with workers experiencing a 6.1% change in earnings after adjusting for inflation. Photo via fb.com

Grand Rapids has one of the fastest rising incomes among major U.S. metros, according to a recent study.

After several decades of stagnation, real earnings for full-time U.S. workers are on the upswing. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that between 2015 and 2018, inflation-adjusted earnings for full-time wage and salary workers increased by more than 3%.

Newly released data from the Census Bureau also showed inflation-adjusted earnings across all full-time workers increased by 2.2% over the same period.

The analysis found the Grand Rapids metropolitan area has the seventh-fastest rising incomes among midsize metros in the U.S. with workers experiencing a 6.1% change in earnings after adjusting for inflation.

At the state level, Oregon and Iowa led the nation in earnings gains from 2015 to 2018 with workers in those states seeing wage increases of more than 5% after adjusting for inflation. 

Summary of the data for the Grand Rapids-Wyoming area compared to national data is as follows:

  • Change in earnings for full-time workers (inflation adjusted): 6.1% (2.2% nationally)
  • 2018 median earnings for full-time workers (2018 dollars): $47,466 ($48,565 nationally)
  • 2015 median earnings for full-time workers (2015 dollars): $42,201 ($44,819 nationally)
  • Occupation with the most wage growth: family and general practitioners (flight attendants nationally)

Despite wage gains at the national level, not all workers are seeing larger paychecks. According to BLS data, flight attendants had a nearly 18% increase in inflation-adjusted earnings from 2015 to 2018, outranking all other occupations with at least 100,000 workers.

Farmworkers and laborers, food preparation workers and dishwashers also experienced large increases in real earnings, ranging from nearly 11% to over 16%.

Postal service workers and financial services sales agents experienced the largest declines in real earnings among the nation’s most popular occupations at 11% and 15%, respectively.

Methodology

Researchers at 360 Quote analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the BLS over three years.

Income growth was measured as the inflation-adjusted percentage change in earnings for full-time workers from 2015 to 2018. Researchers also calculated the occupation with the most wage growth in each metro out of all occupations with at least 100,000 workers nationally.

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