Report: Grand Rapids metro has 17th-fastest wage growth

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A new report shows Grand Rapids had a 5.2% wage growth rate over five years — the 17th-fastest rate among large U.S. metropolitan areas.

Hire a Helper used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to compile the report, the Cities with the Fastest Growing Wages, published last week, and Grand Rapids-Wyoming was ranked 17th out of 53 of the nation’s largest metro areas.

To determine the metros with the fastest-growing wages, researchers at Hire a Helper analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2019 and 2014 Occupational Employment Statistics data. The researchers ranked metro areas according to the inflation-adjusted five-year change in average wages across all workers. Researchers also calculated the occupation with the largest inflation-adjusted wage increase from 2014 to 2019 in each location.

Accounting for inflation, the 2014 average annual wage in the Grand Rapids metropolitan area was $44,698. By 2019, that figure had increased to $47,010, representing a 5.2% increase over five years. The occupation with the largest wage increase during that period was bartenders (47%).

Overall in the U.S., accounting for inflation, the 2014 average annual wage was $51,054, increasing to $53,490 by 2019, a growth rate of 4.8%. The job category with the largest wage increase during that time was farmworker and laborers, crop, nursery and greenhouse employees (23.4%).

Top 10 large metros with the fastest-growing wages

  1. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington
  2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California
  3. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado
  4. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, New York
  5. Raleigh, North Carolina
  6. Providence-Warwick, Rhode Island-Massachusetts
  7. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon-Washington
  8. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida
  9. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California
  10. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

Bottom 10

  1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
  2. Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, California
  3. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas
  4. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, North Carolina-South Carolina
  5. Tucson, Arizona
  6. Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama
  7. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  8. Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky-Indiana
  9. New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana
  10. Memphis, Tennessee

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