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Job Market Growth and Wages: By Counties


Do you have to live in a big city to earn big wages?  About half of all Americans live in the 30 largest urban areas of 2 million or more in population, and more than 70% live in the 100 largest metros with more than 500,000 in population. However, there is money to be made outside (perhaps only slightly outside) these urban centers. recently reported on the strong job market growth and wages in certain non-urban counties. Topping the list was Tooele County, Utah which has seen a job increase of 112.5% (from 2000-2006). This traditional mining region is now employing workers in technical and scientific fields. With almost full employment, Tooele County’s job growth outlook includes a new metals plant that will pay an average salary of $45,000.

How does your salary compare to high paying jobs in non-urban locations? Find out with our salary calculator.

Is Tooele Utah Really Rural?

Is Tooele County really outside the big cities? The federal government puts Tooele as part of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, with a population of more than 1.5 million. The town of Tooele is only 30 miles from downtown Salt Lake City.

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However, Google Maps shows there is pretty big mountain range between the two. That should help control suburban sprawl.

Florida Salaries

In its report of United States job growth by area, says that 23 percent of the population of Flagler County, Florida earns more than $75,000, thanks to the real estate market. Also in Florida, St. Lucie County has seen a 20 percent population growth over the past five years.

The result has been an overall increase in job market growth and wages of nearly 30 percent. The subdivision biz (architects, contractors and others) reportedly pays an average salary of $180,000.

Utah Occupational Salaries

Heading back west, the report says that Summit County, Utah, has seen 51.4% job growth over the past six years. Their economy has traditionally been the furniture and furnishing-wholesale biz, but real estate agent and office administrators have since moved in. These two fields are up over 200% over the past five years. Investment advisors and services are also popular job growth areas.

Over in Wasatch County, Utah, employment has increased by more than 300 percent in this decade! The big pay in Wasatch County is going to business-equipment dealers who earn more than $73,000. These fortunate folks reportedly earn 22 percent more than others in the same field in this state. Future income is expected to come from computer-systems design and big-box retailers.

Finding Nevada Jobs

In Nevada, one of the best bets for salaries is Lyon County. Smaller casinos are springing up, bringing jobs for contractors and restaurant staff. But the real money is in computer programming: those workers reportedly have the highest salaries in Lyon County.

Eagle County, Colorado, best known for the infamous Kobe Bryant hotel incident, has also seen rapid population growth. Even with an increase of 38% in population, they still can’t fill all the jobs. Thanks to the construction boom, the big salary winners are builders and affiliate services.

Texas Average Salary for Real Estate Agents

Hidalgo County, Texas is not what you would think of as a real estate hotspot, but the real estate biz is strong here, as are real estate-related industries such as a construction and building trade. Don’t forget the Alamo Land and Sugar Co., a historical landmark to locals.

Outside Washington D.C., Stafford County boasts an unemployment rate of just 1.9 percent. High tech is big around here, with the FBI National Lab, CIA headquarters and government contractors such as Northrop Grumman. You can even enlist at the U.S. Marines’ Quantico base.

State of Florida Salaries

Back in Florida, salaries have increased more than 24 percent in Sumter County. The hot jobs include construction, stock and commodities brokers. Apparently, it’s not a bad place to retire either; the senior community has reportedly skyrocketed.

If you are thinking of moving to these counties to find a job outside the urban sprawl, think twice. put these locations at the top of their “where the jobs are list” because of job growth. Job growth means population growth, and population growth means the character of an area changes.

Think about the people who bought houses 30 years ago in Redmond, Washington. It was a sleepy area of chicken farms and horse riding trails. They never expected that a little company of 13 people, which moved nearby in 1979, would change their area to a sprawling urban/suburban metropolis by driving massive employment growth. Sometimes, Microsoft happens 🙂

How does your salary compare other counties? The PayScale Salary Calculator is a quick and easy way to compare positions. When you want powerful salary data and comparisons customized for your exact position, be sure to build a complete profile by taking PayScale’s full salary survey.


Dr. Al Lee

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