Thirty-seven States had average weekly wages for all private industry workers below the national average of $578 in 1997, with Montana reporting the lowest at $402 per week. Of the 10 States with the lowest wages, four were located in the West, and three each were located in the Midwest and South.
One of the ten lower-wage States—Nebraska at 5.9 percent—reported an increase in average weekly wages above the national average of 5.1 percent in 1997. Eight of the other nine States experienced increases between 4.0 and 4.9 percent. Idaho’s increase, at 2.9 percent, was the lowest in the group.
These wage data are produced by the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (ES-202) program, a virtual census of establishments, employment, and wages of employees on nonfarm payrolls. Additional information may be obtained from the bulletin, "Employment and Wages Annual Averages, 1997." For this article, the U.S. Census Bureau's regional definitions, which divide the country into 4 regions—Northeast, South, Midwest, and West—were used.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Montana reports lowest weekly wage at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/feb/wk4/art01.htm (visited August 19, 2022).