Economy
1:21 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Forbes: Detroit ranks 3rd in adjusted wages compared to national average

Detroit has the third highest average annual income out of the 51 largest metropolitan areas in the country.

Shocked? Let me explain.

Forbes Magazine and the Praxis Strategy Group re-ranked the incomes in these 51 cities after adjusting for cost of living. Not surprisingly, it turns out a dollar goes a lot farther in Detroit than in, say, New York City or Boston.

The authors of the study say the Detroit -Warren-Livonia area ranked third in part due to the relatively high wages in the rebounding auto industry and emerging STEM jobs (science, technology, engineering and math).

They also cited the 5 percent reduction in unemployment in the region.

Here are the ten highest adjusted wages:

1. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
Adjusted Annual Wage: $66,933
Average Annual Wage: $59,838
Unadjusted Rank: 8

2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
Adjusted Annual Wage: $61,581
Average Annual Wage: $92,556
Unadjusted Rank: 1

3. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI
Adjusted Annual Wage: $57,016
Average Annual Wage: $53,424
Unadjusted Rank: 17

4. Memphis, TN-MS-AR
Adjusted Annual Wage: $55,908
Average Annual Wage: $48,025
Unadjusted Rank: 32

5. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
Adjusted Annual Wage: $55,564
Average Annual Wage: $53,453
Unadjusted Rank: 16

6. Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC
Adjusted Annual Wage: $54,816
Average Annual Wage: $51,143
Unadjusted Rank: 18

7. Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN
Adjusted Annual Wage: $54,580
Average Annual Wage: $49,886
Unadjusted Rank: 24

8. Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX
Adjusted Annual Wage: $54,393
Average Annual Wage: $50,422
Unadjusted Rank: 19

9. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
Adjusted Annual Wage: $53,874
Average Annual Wage: $60,123
Unadjusted Rank: 7

10. Columbus, OH
Adjusted Annual Wage: $53,691
Average Annual Wage: $48,483
Unadjusted Rank: 30

The cities usually associated with big paychecks took dramatic plunges after factoring in cost of living.

Without adjustment, San Francisco and New York rank third and fourth in highest average income at just under $70,000. The Forbes ranking puts them at 39th and 41st, respectively.

Cities ranking near the top of the list tend to be growing. Dallas gained 40,000 migrants last year and Austin’s population grew by four percent. New York and Los Angeles, by contrast, have seen net decreases in their populations since 2000.

- Suzanne Jacobs, Michigan Radio Newsroom