The average U.S. worker is losing ground to inflation, but those on the East and West coasts are faring significantly better than those in the middle, according to the latest numbers from the Labor Department.
San Jose points the way to higher salaries for workers, who made 20 percent more the national average in 2010, while workers in southernmost Texas made 20 percent less, according to an annual pay comparison released in late May by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Employees in metropolitan areas surrounding San Francisco, New York, Seattle and Salinas all earn higher than average wages, the BLS said, while those in Lincoln, NE, Ocala, FL, and Brownsville, TX, make significantly less.
Regional differences are due in part, to the proportion of high paying jobs in the area. In the Brownsville area less than 6 percent of jobs are upper level management, business or financial service jobs, compared to the national average of 10 percent.
Disparities are greater for certain job categories. Construction workers in the New York metropolitan area made an average $32.54 an hour in 2010. That’s 54 percent more than the national average for construction work of $21.18 an hour. Service industry workers in the San Francisco Bay Area made 26 more than the national average, while those workers in the Seattle area made 23 percent more.
Overall, average hourly earnings for all employees declined by 0.3 percent from March to April, the BLS reported. The decline stemmed from a 0.4 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index, which more than offset the 0.1 increase in average hourly earnings. Year-over-year average hourly earnings have fallen 1.5 percent.