15 US cities with the fastest growth in high-paying jobs

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    Editor’s note: This story originally appeared on Stessa.

    One of the main long-term economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could be rising wages. With widespread labor market bottlenecks reported this summer, many employers – especially those with low-wage workers – have tried to lure workers with improved pay and benefits. These trends have resulted in the highest wage growth rates since the Great Recession, particularly among the low paid.

    Twenty years ago, only 0.7% of American workers had jobs that typically paid more than $ 100,000 a year. In 2015 this proportion was 3.8%. And in the past five years alone, the proportion of American workers in six-figure jobs has more than doubled to 7.9% in 2020.

    One area that could add to the growth rate of high-paying jobs nationwide is technology: software developers and computer and information systems managers – both growing faster than most other professions – currently work together for more than 1.9 million high-paying jobs. But while fast-growing tech jobs and more specialized areas like law, health, or finance often draw attention, the most common six-digit jobs are general and operations managers. More than 2.3 million US workers occupy this role, which is common in organizations of all types in the public and private sectors, and they have an average annual income of $ 103,650.

    Large metros with the greatest growth in high paying jobs

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    In addition to focusing on specific areas, high-paying jobs are also geographically concentrated. Six-digit salaries are most common in coastal states like California, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York, where populations tend to be higher educated, the cost of living is higher, and high-paying industries like technology, business, law and health, and life sciences are more common. But many parts of the country where these jobs are less widespread are also growing. From 2015 to 2020, Hawaii more than tripled six-digit jobs, and 10 other states – mostly in Mountain West and the upper Midwest – saw six-digit jobs grow more than 100% over the same period. Many of these states are proving to be more attractive to employers and professionals looking for lower cost locations.

    To identify the locations with the greatest growth in high-paying jobs, our researchers calculated the percentage change in employment in six-digit jobs from 2015 to 2020 using data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the event of a tie, the location with the higher share of total employment will be rated higher in six-digit positions in 2020. For the purposes of this analysis, employment in six-digit jobs was defined as total employment in occupations with a median annual wage of $ 100,000 or more.

    The following are the major metros (population at least 1 million) with the greatest growth in high-paying jobs.

    15. Austin-Round Rock, TX

    Austin, Texas
    Roschetzky Photography / Shutterstock.com
    • Percentage change in six-digit digits (2015-2020): + 101.1%
    • Proportion of total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 7.6%
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 80,560
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2015): 40,060
    • Median annual wage across all occupations (2020): $ 44,020

    14. Louisville / Jefferson County, KY-IN

    Louisville, Kentucky
    Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
    • Percentage change in six-digit digits (2015-2020): + 105.0%
    • Proportion of total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 2.9%
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 17,590
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2015): 8,580
    • Median annual wage across all occupations (2020): $ 39,330

    13. Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA

    Adonis Villanueva / Shutterstock.com
    • Percentage change in six-digit digits (2015-2020): + 107.7%
    • Proportion of total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 12.9%
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 124,480
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2015): 59,930
    • Median annual wage across all occupations (2020): $ 48,070

    12. Raleigh, NC

    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    • Percentage change in six-digit digits (2015-2020): + 109.2%
    • Proportion of total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 9.9%
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 61,470
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2015): 29,380
    • Median annual wage across all occupations (2020): $ 43,500

    11. Salt Lake City, UT

    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Joe Guetzloff / Shutterstock.com
    • Percentage change in six-digit digits (2015-2020): + 122.3%
    • Proportion of total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 6.2%
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 45,090
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2015): 20,280
    • Median annual wage across all occupations (2020): $ 42,280

    10. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

    Aerial view of Portland with Mount Hood in the background.
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    • Percentage change in six-digit digits (2015-2020): + 124.7%
    • Proportion of total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 10.1%
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 115.080
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2015): 51,220
    • Median annual wage across all occupations (2020): $ 48,050

    9. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY

    Buffalo, New York
    Atomazul / Shutterstock.com
    • Percentage change in six-digit digits (2015-2020): + 143.0%
    • Proportion of total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 5.0%
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 24,590
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2015): 10.120
    • Median annual wage across all occupations (2020): $ 42,040

    8. Tucson, AZ

    Tucson
    Chris Rubino / Shutterstock.com
    • Percentage change in six-digit digits (2015-2020): + 156.2%
    • Proportion of total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 3.7%
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 13,730
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2015): 5,360
    • Median annual wage across all occupations (2020): $ 38,900

    7. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX

    San Antonio by night.
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    • Percentage change in six-digit digits (2015-2020): + 163.0%
    • Proportion of total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 5.7%
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 56,780
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2015): 21,590
    • Median annual wage across all occupations (2020): $ 37,920

    6. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI

    Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Henryk Sadura / Shutterstock.com
    • Percentage change in six-digit digits (2015-2020): + 175.2%
    • Proportion of total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 4.2%
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 21,630
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2015): 7,860
    • Median annual wage across all occupations (2020): $ 39,430

    5. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

    Riverside, California at night
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    • Percentage change in six-digit digits (2015-2020): + 181.3%
    • Proportion of total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 6.3%
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 93,620
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2015): 33,280
    • Median annual wage across all occupations (2020): $ 39,630

    4. New Orleans Metairie, LA

    New Orleans, Louisiana at night
    f11 photography / Shutterstock.com
    • Percentage change in the six-digit digits (2015-2020): + 204.8%
    • Proportion of total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 6.5%
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 33,310
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2015): 10,930
    • Median annual wage across all occupations (2020): $ 38,280

    3. Las Vegas-Henderson Paradise, NV

    Las Vegas neighborhood with desert hills behind it.
    Christopher Boswell / Shutterstock.com
    • Percentage change in six-digit digits (2015-2020): + 216.1%
    • Proportion of total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 4.8%
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 43,690
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2015): 13,820
    • Median annual wage across all occupations (2020): $ 37,690

    2. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ

    John Wollwerth / Shutterstock.com
    • Percentage change in six-digit digits (2015-2020): + 217.1%
    • Proportion of total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 8.6%
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 180.740
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2015): 57,000
    • Median annual wage across all occupations (2020): $ 41,300

    1. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN

    Nashville, Tennessee
    jdross75 / Shutterstock.com
    • Percentage change in six-digit digits (2015-2020): + 270.9%
    • Share of total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 5.6%
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2020): 53,820
    • Total employment in six-digit positions (2015): 14,510
    • Median annual wage across all occupations (2020): $ 40,650

    Detailed results & methodology

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    The data used in this analysis comes from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics tables of employment and wage statistics. In order to determine the locations with the greatest growth in high-paying jobs, the researchers calculated the percentage change in employment in the six-digit range from 2015 to 2020 and checked it for statistical significance. In the event of a tie, the location with the higher share of total employment will be rated higher in six-digit positions in 2020. For the purposes of this analysis, employment in six-digit jobs was defined as total employment in occupations with a median annual wage of $ 100,000 or more. In order to improve the relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 inhabitants were taken into account. In addition, the metropolises were grouped into cohorts according to population size: small (100,000–349,999), medium (350,000–999,999) and large (1,000,000 or more).

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