Washington Wages: Leading the Nation

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Myrtle Nora arranges flag buntings outside the Capitol prior to the second inauguration of President Barack Obama in Washington.

Guess where pay in the U.S. is up the most over the past decade.

Guessed Washington?

Guessed right.

From 2001 through 2011, the average annual wages in the nation’s capital rose by 4.1 percent a year — from $49,420 a year to $74,540 a year — according to an analysis by the Bloomberg Rankings team.

Its 10-year “State Wage Escalator” is built on cross-industry estimates and extracted from the annual mean wage for occupations within the states.

Wyoming ran second, with a 3.63 percent annual increase — yet the average annual wage in 2011 — $42,510 — stood well behind Washington, D.C.’s runaway average of $74,540 last year.

Virginia ranked second, at 3.42 percent — and the presence of federal contractors in the Washington-neighbor should be noted. Then came North Dakota, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, California, Massachusetts and New Mexico.

The national average of 2.89 percent annual growth yielded an average annual wage of $45,646 last year.

Bringing up the bottom: Michigan, at 1.86 percent. Ohio and Indiana followed close behind — signs of what happened to Midwest manufacturing during the past decade. Michigan’s average wage of $43,700 last year was $30,000 less than Washington’s.

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