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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

South Dakota Compensation Growth Ahead of Curve; National Growth Lags Inflation

U.S. Map: Growth in Compensation, 2007-2008, by CountyThe center holds: in 2008 compensation showed the strongest growth in the Great Plains. [Click image to enlarge; source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis]
We're richer than we thought... or at least we're getting richer faster than the Coasts: even as the housing bubble burst and the country slid into recession, South Dakota and the great American midsection showed the strongest compensation growth in the country. Most South Dakota counties posted compensation growth of 3.9% or better; all those dark blue counties on the map beat 6% growth.

Nationally, compensation grew 2.3%, while inflation was 3.3%.

Now sure, our wages grew faster than the national average, but we've got room to grow. South Dakota's average compensation per job in 2008 was $40,726. Across the U.S., average compensation per job is $56,116. Adjust for cost of living, and South Dakota's average wages are still 79% of the national average.

Locally, wages are even thinner: Average compensation in Lake County is $36,439.

Some interesting facts from the BEA data:
  • In the 618 counties of the Plains region (from ND to MO), 46.5% of compensation is concentrated in just 10 counties.
  • Nationwide, 168 large metropolitan counties (out of 3112 counties total) account for 65.8% of compensation. That means nearly two thirds of our wages are made by folks who supposedly aren't real Americans.
  • The sector providing the fastest growing compensation on the Plains: mining, up 16.6%.
  • The sector contracting fastest on the Plains: information, down 0.8% (and here I thought going to DSU would be a moneymaker!).
  • In the economically largest counties (those with total compensation of $10 billion of more), the sector paying the largest share of compensation is professional, scientific, and technical services (10.7% of total compensation).
  • In the next tier of counties (paying out $1 billion to $10 billion), the sector paying the largest share of compensation is health care and social assistance (11.7% of total compensation).
  • In the vast bottom tier of counties paying out less than $1 billion (72.8% of counties), the sector generating the biggest share of compensation is local government (16.5% of total compensation).

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