Residents of Midwest, Mountain West see biggest pay bumps

October 30, 2023 (Michigan Advance)

…Many of the states in the Mountain West, Midwest and New England that experienced large income increases have scenic or affordable areas that have attracted remote workers looking for a lower cost of living and proximity to recreation.

“Things changed fast. Now there’s competition for workers and upward pressure on wages, and people from Oregon and California are saying ’Hey I could live next to five national parks. This is an incredible place,’” said Shawn Teigen, president of the Utah Foundation, a nonprofit that monitors Mountain State trends.

Newcomers to Utah, for example, brought both more income and oftentimes smaller families than the longtime Mormon population, boosting per capita incomes, he noted. And competition for scarce service and manufacturing workers has forced employers to pay more.

“This used to be a place where we could bring businesses in and say, ‘You can pay minimum wage and people will take the jobs because it’s not expensive to live here,’” he said.

Inflation-adjusted per capita incomes in Utah have grown by about 8% since 2019. Incomes in Colorado, Maine, Montana and Nebraska also grew by roughly that much. Incomes in Arizona, Idaho and Missouri increased by about 7%.

But the greatest gains were in North Dakota and South Dakota, where inflation-adjusted incomes increased by 11% and 9%, respectively…

  View Article