States where pay is rising the fastest, ranked

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Wage growth in Idaho is over 5%. JMarro/Shutterstock

  • Wage growth across the US averaged 3.1% in 2017.
  • Idaho had the largest wage growth because of low unemployment and pay increases.
  • But employees in North Dakota, Alaska, and Iowa actually had negative wage growth.

Wages and salaries are going up, at least for most Americans.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released a report last week that shows which states had the highest wage growth in 2017.

Although “earnings” and “income” are often used interchangeably, they are not exactly the same. Earnings looks at wages and salaries while income includes earnings as well as other sources of income, such as payments received from a rental property. Business Insider already looked at each state’s personal income growth.

The national average wage growth is 3.1%.

The Plains region was by far the slowest growing of the geographic divisions in the study, with wage growth of just 1.4%, dragged down by two states that actually saw a decrease in earnings. Farm earnings decreased 6.6% nationwide in 2017, heavily impacting states with high agricultural industries.

Only three states saw a drop in earnings over the last calendar year: North Dakota, Alaska, and Iowa.

Further west, wage growth was more robust. The Far West and Rocky Mountains regions led the way with 4.2% and 4.4% earnings growth, respectively. Seven of the eight largest increases came in states in these regions.

Idaho had the highest earnings growth of any state, which the BEA attributes to a 9.7% earnings increase of durable goods manufacturing in the state.

The Wall Street Journal points out that Idaho’s low unemployment rate of 3.0% helped boost its wage growth. The state also has a low per capita income – 44th in the nation – that allows for higher growth. A relatively small population – Idaho has about 1.8 million residents – may also be a contributing factor.


50. North Dakota: -1.9%

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49. Alaska: -1.1%


48. Iowa: -0.1%

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47. Kansas: 0.3%

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45 (TIE). Nebraska: 0.7%

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45 (TIE). Wyoming: 0.7%

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43 (TIE). South Dakota: 0.8%


43 (TIE). Connecticut: 0.8%

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42. Louisiana: 1.0%

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41. Oklahoma: 1.6%

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40. Missouri: 1.8%

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39. Kentucky: 1.9%

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38. Illinois: 2.1%


37. New Jersey: 2.3%

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36. Montana: 2.4%

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34 (TIE). Vermont: 2.5%

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34 (TIE). Mississippi: 2.5%

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33. New Mexico: 2.6%

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30 (TIE). Wisconsin: 2.7%

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30 (TIE). New York: 2.7%

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30 (TIE). Hawaii: 2.7%

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27 (TIE). Pennsylvania: 2.8%

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27 (TIE). Rhode Island: 2.8%

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27 (TIE). Maine: 2.8%

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26. Maryland: 2.9%

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23 (TIE). Michigan: 3.0%

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23 (TIE). Ohio: 3.0%

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23 (TIE). Virginia: 3.0%

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19 (TIE). West Virginia: 3.1%

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19 (TIE). Indiana: 3.1%

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19 (TIE). Alabama: 3.1%

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19 (TIE). Texas: 3.1%

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18. Minnesota: 3.2%

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17. New Hampshire: 3.3%

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16. Arkansas: 3.4%

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15. Florida: 3.5%

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13 (TIE). Massachusetts: 3.6%

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13 (TIE). Delaware: 3.6%

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11 (TIE). Tennessee: 3.7%

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11 (TIE). South Carolina: 3.7%

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9 (TIE). North Carolina: 3.8%

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9 (TIE). Georgia: 3.8%

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8. Oregon: 3.9%

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7. California: 4.2%

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6. Nevada: 4.3%

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5. Colorado: 4.6%

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4. Utah: 4.7%

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3. Arizona: 4.8%

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2. Washington: 5.2%

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1. Idaho: 5.3%

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