North Central News

Stanton: Phoenix’s wage growth strongest in U.S.

By Mayor Greg Stanton

This is a drum I will never stop beating: A city that welcomes everyone, respects everyone, and supports an innovative economy creates real opportunity for everyone.

So when the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics released new data showing that the Phoenix metro area experienced the highest wage growth in the nation over the past year, I was proud to see that our investments in an innovation-driven economy were making a real impact on the wages of real Phoenix residents. The average hourly wage grew by nearly $2 an hour over the past year in the Phoenix metro area and is now $26.75, 1.5 percent higher than the national average of $26.36.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, wages in the Valley jumped 7.6 percent between July 2016 and July 2017, a leap made possible by significant private-sector wage growth driven by advanced industries like technology, biosciences, healthcare, financial services and precision manufacturing. It has become clear to STEM skill companies that Phoenix is the next hub for innovation, and this means more high-skilled jobs for our residents.

Throughout the city, we see have seen how innovation breeds innovation. Our investments in biosciences, higher education and transportation are working. Dr. Michael Crow and Arizona State University have been transformational partners in our economic growth – earning rank of most innovative university in the nation for the third year in a row and producing talented young women and men who are contributing to our highly competitive workforce.

We have also looked for every opportunity to form creative private partnerships to support this substantial growth.

When Denver-based tech education giant Galvanize was looking to expand, we didn’t hesitate to make sure they found a perfect home in our resurgent Warehouse District. Galvanize is now educating hundreds of highly skilled students, and it houses more than 80 startups. This partnership signals top tech companies and entrepreneurs that Phoenix is serious about becoming the next innovation corridor.

I look forward to seeing this trend continue, but recognize that we have much more work to do to reach our vast economic potential. Despite our gains, our metro area still only ranks 23rd overall in average hourly wage. Our future competiveness depends on our state’s willingness to invest more in education to create a true 21st century workforce.

We still have many milestones to cross, but we are moving in the right direction. It is clear that Phoenix values have translated to a better, more inclusive economy with more opportunity for higher-paying jobs.

To see for yourself, take a closer look at the numbers:


Top 10 metros by increase in average hourly wage, July 2017 over July 2016

“MSA Rank” is based on July 2016 metropolitan statistical area population by the U.S. Census; “Rank” means percent change in average hourly wage year-over-year.

Rank MSA Rank Metro 2017   2016 % Chg
1 12 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ $    26.75   $    24.87 7.6%
2 11 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $    38.03 $    35.60 6.8%
3 35 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $    38.03 $    35.60 6.8%
4 22 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC $    28.09 $    26.44 6.2%
5 16 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI $    29.32 $    27.70 5.8%
6 4 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX $    27.36 $    25.85 5.8%
7 13 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA $    23.24 $    22.00 5.6%
8 31 Austin-Round Rock, TX $    28.76 $    27.43 4.8%
9 24 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX $    23.07 $    22.14 4.2%
10 8 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL $    24.19 $    23.22 4.2%

United States average

$    26.36   $    25.53 3.3%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Top 10 metro areas ranked by highest 2017 average hourly wage
“MSA Rank” is based on July 2016 metropolitan statistical area population by the U.S. Census; “Rank” is based on 2017 average hourly wage.

Rank MSA Rank Metro 2017  2016 % Chg
1 11 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $    38.03  $    35.60 6.8%
2 35 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $    38.03  $    35.60 6.8%
3 15 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA $    35.96  $    34.72 3.6%
4 10 Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH NECTA $    34.91  $    33.71 3.6%
5 6 Washington, DC-VA-MD-WV $    34.11  $    32.86 3.8%
6 1 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA $    31.43  $    30.22 4.0%
7 16 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI $    29.32  $    27.70 5.8%
8 19 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO $    28.87  $    28.71 0.6%
9 31 Austin-Round Rock, TX $    28.76  $    27.43 4.8%
10 3 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI $    28.66  $    28.13 -1.9%
23 12 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ $    26.75  $    24.87 7.6%

United States average

$    26.36  $    25.53 3.3%

Top 25 Metro area average

$    28.56  $    27.57 3.6%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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