Profile: Wage & Income Trends

Salaries in the Rural Capital Area are below U.S. levels in all industries except Manufacturing.  The average salary in the Rural Capital Area is 85% of the U.S. average and from 2011-2016 grew 7%, while the U.S. growth was 12%.

Salaries in seven sectors grew faster than the national rate during this period:

  • Professional and Business Services – 37%
  • Construction – 25%
  • Leisure and Hospitality – 18%
  • Financial Activities – 14%
  • Natural Resources & Mining – 12%
  • Health Services and Private Education – 9%

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities salaries declined from 2011-2016. A significant portion of regional salary declines occurred between 2000 and 2003 during the tech bubble crunch. From 2006 to 2016, average salary growth has roughly matched U.S. growth with slight salary drops in 2009 and 2013.

Per Capita Income in the Rural Capital Area has remained below the U.S. average for the past 10 years, reaching 85% of U.S. Per Capita Income in 2016. As with Salary Levels, Per Capita Income saw regional declines in 2001 and 2002, but otherwise roughly matched U.S. growth trends between 2006 and 2016, including a decline of 4% in 2009.

Median Household Income in the Rural Capital Area remained above U.S. levels during the past decade, reaching 123% of U.S. Median Household Income in 2015. Regional Median Household Income levels were not as greatly affected by the tech crunch in the early 2000s as Per Capita Income and have also grown at a similar rate to the U.S. as a whole. Rural Capital Area Median Household Income declined by 2.3% in 2009, less than the U.S. Median Household Income drop of 3.5%.

The Rural Capital Area has much lower poverty levels than the U.S. as a whole, particularly for those aged under 18. Between 2005 and 2015, poverty levels increased slightly in the Rural Capital Area for all ages, rising from 9.5% in poverty in 2005 to 9.8% in poverty in 2015, less than the U.S. level of 14.7% in 2015. The regional percentage of children in poverty also increased during this same period, rising from 12.5% of children in poverty in 2005 to 12.8% in poverty in 2015, compared to 20.7% of children in poverty in the U.S.

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