Cities with Biggest Pay Increases

The recovery in the United States has been very uneven throughout the country with just three cities making full recovery, so far. But these cities have reported the large wage increases year-over-year for the fourth quarter of 2012.

The recovery in the United States has been very uneven throughout the country with just three cities making full recoveries as of December 2012. In some areas the foreclosure rates are still fairly high while other metro areas are experience the great employment rates.

A new report has revealed the cities where wages increased the most. According to PayScale, these cities showed strong wage growth because they have jobs in growing sectors, such as tech or energy.

California has the most cities on the list with three. The state seems to be pulling itself up after getting hit hard by the recession. In a November study from RealtyTrac California had the fourth worst foreclosure rate. However, it has six cities on Zillow’s report on the housing markets with the biggest expected growth in 2013.

Here are the top cities with the biggest wage growth in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the fourth quarter of 2011.

10. (tie) Philadelphia, Pa.

Q4 2012 Y-o-Y Percentage Change in Pay: 3.2%

“The City of Brotherly Love is home to the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and many Fortune 500 companies, including Comcast and Pep Boys. Philly also gets economic boosts from tourism, manufacturing, and healthcare.”

10. (tie) Phoenix, Ariz.

Q4 2012 Y-o-Y Percentage Change in Pay: 3.2%

“The early Phoenix economy was based primarily in agriculture, with cotton, citrus, and cattle among the leading products. Today, farmland has turned to suburbs and Phoenix does bigger business in tourism, and manufacturing.”

10. (tie) Tampa, Fla.

Q4 2012 Y-o-Y Percentage Change in Pay: 3.2%

“This Florida city has a diverse economy, with national defense, professional sports, tourism, and real estate among the biggest economic drivers. MacDill Air Force Base is a major employer, as are more than 20 hospitals located within the city and its suburbs.”

9. Los Angeles, Calif.

Q4 2012 Y-o-Y Percentage Change in Pay: 3.3%

“The glamorous City of Angels is a thriving metropolis of fashion, arts, entertainment and media. The local economy is also influenced by international trade, technology, health care, and tourism.”

8. Minneapolis, Minn.

Q4 2012 Y-o-Y Percentage Change in Pay: 3.7%

“Minneapolis-St. Paul, also known as the Twin Cities, is the third largest metropolitan area in the Midwest. Manufacturing and commerce contribute most to the Minneapolis economy. The main areas of manufacturing include electronics, medical equipment, and machinery.”

7. Chicago, Ill.

Q4 2012 Y-o-Y Percentage Change in Pay: 3.8%

“The Windy City is one of the world's largest financial centers, home to the Chicago Stock Exchange and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, suggesting perhaps Chi-Town residents are as passionate about numbers as they are about the Cubs. Chicago is also headquarters to more than 400 corporations, including Boeing.”

6. San Francisco, Calif.

Q4 2012 Y-o-Y Percentage Change in Pay: 3.9%

“While innovative companies like Apple and Google get press in the Bay, tourism is the primary contributor to San Francisco’s economy, mainly due to the city’s favored place in pop culture. Pier 39 near the Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most popular tourist spots in the nation. In addition, the financial industry is also active thanks to big players like the Wells Fargo corporate headquarters and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.”

5. Dallas, Texas

Q4 2012 Y-o-Y Percentage Change in Pay: 4.3%

“They say everything is bigger in Texas, which explains why Dallas has emerged as the largest metropolitan area in the South. Sometimes called the “Silicone Prairie,” this central Texas city enjoys much diversity in its business environment, including technology, life sciences, defense, and telecommunications.”

3. (tie) Boston, Mass.

Q4 2012 Y-o-Y Percentage Change in Pay: 4.5%

“Boston is one of America's oldest cities. Its economy relies mainly on healthcare, finance, and education. Tourism also contributes a great deal to Boston's economy. With more than 60 historical sites, Boston is among the top 10 tourist attractions in the U.S.”

3. (tie) Riverside, Calif.

Q4 2012 Y-o-Y Percentage Change in Pay: 4.5%

“The birthplace of the California citrus industry, the current Riverside economy relies mostly on education, manufacturing, and retail activity. Situated next to the Santa Ana River, Riverside expanded its local technology economy by building Riverside Regional Technology Park.”

1. (tie) Houston, Texas

Q4 2012 Y-o-Y Percentage Change in Pay: 4.8%

“The largest city in Texas hosts a variety of strong industries, including aeronautics and healthcare, but the boom in the oil and gas industry has had the biggest positive impact on wages in Houston, historically.”

1. (tie) Seattle, Wash.

Q4 2012 Y-o-Y Percentage Change in Pay: 4.8%

“Caffeine, cozy clothing, and books are all big in the Emerald City, which hosts the headquarters of Starbucks, Nordstrom, and Amazon. The Port of Seattle is a major gateway for trade with Asia and also the point of departure for many cruises to Alaska, keeping tourist dollars flowing into the economy.”

Read more:

Wage Trends by Metro Area