WHAT ARE YOUR WAGES WORTH? We’ve written about The Economist’s Big Mac Index, which is a lighthearted way to gauge whether countries’ currencies are at the correct levels – just compare the price of a hamburger in each country. At the start of the year, you could buy a Big Mac pretty cheaply in Russia ($1.53), Hong Kong ($2.48), or Taiwan ($2.08).
There are differences in how much things cost from state-to-state, too. Pew Research Center used federal wage data to determine which regions of the United States had the lowest and highest wages after adjusting for differences in cost-of-living:
“As we’ve noted before, prices for everything from housing to groceries vary widely from place to place, with the result being that a given income can mean very different things in New York, New Orleans, or New Bern, North Carolina. To get a handle on those variations, one can use the “regional price parities,” or RPPs, developed by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. The RPPs measure local price levels in each of the nation’s 381 metropolitan statistical areas, as well as the nonmetropolitan portions of states, relative to the overall national price level.”
The highest weekly wages for 3rd Quarter 2015, after adjusting for cost-of-living, were found in: 1) San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, 2) California-Lexington Park, Maryland, 3) San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California, and 4) Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington. These are the locations where average wages stretch the furthest.
The lowest wages, after adjustment, were paid in: 1) Yakima, Washington, 2) Wenatchee, Washington, 3) Logan, Utah-Idaho, and 4) Grants Pass, Oregon.
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“The best fishermen I know try not to make the same mistakes over and over again; instead they strive to make new and interesting mistakes and to remember what they learned from them.”
–John Gierach, American author (and fisherman)