In 2007, average pay in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland metropolitan area was 19 percent above the national average, the highest among metropolitan areas studied by the National Compensation Survey (NCS). The next highest average pay was in the New York-Newark-Bridgeport metropolitan area, which was 15 percent above the national average.
In contrast, pay was lowest in the Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas, metropolitan area with a pay relative of 76, meaning Brownsville workers earned an average of 76 cents for every dollar earned by workers nationwide. The next lowest average pay was in the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, metropolitan area, where workers earned an average of 85 cents for every dollar earned by workers nationwide.
The chart shows the three highest and three lowest paying metropolitan areas among those studied in the NCS.
Using data from the NCS, pay relatives—a means of assessing pay differences—are available for each of the 9 major occupational groups within 77 metropolitan areas, as well as averaged across all occupations for each area. Area-to-area comparisons have been calculated for all 77 areas and are available at www.bls.gov/ncs/ocs/payrel.htm.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Comparisons of pay between metropolitan areas, 2007 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2008/jul/wk4/art01.htm (visited December 11, 2023).