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Average Wage

Description: 

The average wage is a measure of individual economic well-being for those working in wage and salary jobs. It is calculated from wage and salary disbursements and wage and salary employment.

The latest current dollar average wage figure by county is presented on Arizona Indicators, along with data for the same year for the United States, the U.S. metro average, the U.S. nonmetro average, and Arizona. The figure for Arizona also is expressed as a percentage of the national average. Counties within a metropolitan area are presented as a percentage of the U.S. metro average; the remaining counties are compared to the national nonmetro average. A history of Arizona’s current dollar figure as a percentage of the national average is presented back to 1969. In addition, the inflation-adjusted percent change in average wage is displayed for each area, beginning with 1970. The data are inflation adjusted using the gross domestic product implicit price deflator (GDP deflator).

Data Source: 

U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Annual data by state are released in September. County data are released two months later, in November. All of the data can be accessed from http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm.

The GDP deflator is available from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/national/index.htm. Click on the “Interactive Tables: GDP and the National Income and Product Account (NIPA) Historical Tables” link; the GDP deflator is in Table 1.1.9 (Section 1: Domestic Product and Income).

Data Quality Comments: 

The employment and disbursement figures are estimates that are primarily based on the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. However, the BEA must estimate employment and disbursements for those employees not counted in the census. Proprietors are not included. The employment data do not distinguish between full- and part-time employment. Thus, the average wage has not been adjusted for those jobs in which more or less than 40 hours per week are worked.

iconAverage Wage, 2013

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Visualization Notes:

The average wage in Arizona in 2013 was $46,797, less than the national average of $50,012. The average wage in 2013 was less than the U.S. metro average in each of the state’s eight metropolitan counties. However, six of the seven nonmetro counties had a figure in excess of the U.S. nonmetro average.

iconAverage Wage as Percentages of the National Averages, 2013

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Visualization Notes:

Reasonable targets for Arizona are for the state’s average wage to be near the national average, for the larger metro counties to have a figure near the U.S. metro average, and for the nonmetro counties to have a figure equal to the nonmetro average.

Among Arizona’s eight metropolitan counties, Maricopa was the only one with an average wage that approached the U.S. metro average in 2013, at 4 percent less. Each of the others had a figure from 13-to-30 percent below the metro average. In contrast, among the seven nonmetro counties, the average wage in Greenlee was far higher than the U.S. nonmetro average and five counties had a figure from 4-to-18 percent higher. Only in La Paz County was the average wage less than average.

iconAverage Wage in Arizona as a Percentage of the National Average

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Visualization Notes:

A reasonable target is for Arizona’s average wage to be near the national average. This was the case during the early 1970s when the state’s figure was within 1 percent of the national average. The average wage in Arizona was within 5 percent of the national average in each year from 1969 through 1984. Since then, the highest has been a 5 percent differential from 2005 through 2009. In 2012 and 2013, the figure was 6.4 percent less.

iconAverage Wage, Inflation-Adjusted Percent Change

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Visualization Notes:

The inflation-adjusted percent change in the average wage is cyclical, with declines or small gains common during recessions and larger increases usually occurring during expansions. The annual percent change in Arizona, though usually not much different from the national average, tends to be higher than the U.S. average when the economy is growing and lower during recessionary periods. Arizona’s percent change was below the U.S. average in five of the seven years from 2007 through 2013.

Data Source

U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Annual data by state are released in September. County data are released two months later, in November. All of the data can be accessed from http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm.

The GDP deflator is available from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/national/index.htm. Click on the “Interactive Tables: GDP and the National Income and Product Account (NIPA) Historical Tables” link; the GDP deflator is in Table 1.1.9 (Section 1: Domestic Product and Income).