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The pay relative averaged across all occupations for workers in the San Francisco, California, metropolitan area was 117 in 2005, meaning that pay on average was 17 percent higher in that area than in the nation as a whole.
By contrast, pay averaged across all occupations in the Brownsville, Texas, metropolitan area was 19 percent below the national average.
A pay relative is a calculation of pay—wages, salaries, commissions, and production bonuses—for a given metropolitan area relative to the nation as a whole. The calculation controls for differences among areas in occupational composition, establishment and occupational characteristics, and the fact that data are collected for areas at different times during the year.
Pay relatives have been prepared for each of 9 major occupational groups within 78 Metropolitan Statistical Areas and have been averaged across all occupations for each area. Pay relatives averaged for workers in all occupations in San Francisco and Brownsville were, respectively, the highest and lowest among the 78 areas.
To give an example for a major occupational group, the pay relative in 2005 for workers in construction and extraction occupations in San Francisco was 123. By contrast, the pay relative for workers in construction and extraction occupations in Brownsville was 72.
These data are from the BLS National Compensation Survey program. Note that the San Francisco metropolitan area also includes Oakland and San Jose; the Brownsville area also includes Harlingen and San Benito. Learn more in "Occupational Pay Relatives, 2005" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 06-1680.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Comparisons of pay between metropolitan areas, 2005 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2006/sept/wk4/art05.htm (visited March 28, 2023).