States with the Highest Pay
© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.
Many jobseekers and new college graduates are understandably concerned with how much they can potentially make in their careers so they can live comfortable lives and justify the tens of thousands of dollars spent on education. One way of maximizing earnings is to locate states with high pay and pursue a career in those places.
The state with the highest average wages for all occupations was Massachusetts, with annual mean pay of $54,740 per year, or $26.32 per hour. This was as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and applied only to the 50 states. The ranking did not include territories or possessions.
- The highest wages in the state belonged to the surgeons who made an annual mean $237.170, or $114.02 per hour.
- The highest paid occupational group belonged to management, with averages of $121,470 per year, or $58.40 per hour.
The occupational group that has traditionally contained the highest-paying occupations has been healthcare practitioners and technical occupations.
- For example, the highest average wages in the country belonged to anesthesiologists, averaging $234.950 per year, or $112.96; surgeons at a mean $231.550 annually, or $111.32 hourly; and obstetricians and gynecologists at an average $218,610 yearly, or $105.10 an hour.
- The state with the highest average wages for all healthcare occupations was Alaska, with mean wages at $89,360 per year, or $42.96 per hour. It was followed by California at an average $87,260 annually, or $41.95 hourly, and Nevada, at a mean annual $84,500 or $40.63. Incidentally, California also contained the most jobs for this group, with over 9 percent of the over 7.5 million total healthcare positions.
The occupational group with the most workers was office and administrative support, which contained 21.3 million out of the country’s total 128.2 million workers. This category included administrative assistants, secretaries, office clerks and computer operators.
- Average wages for the group in the entire country was $34,120 per year, or $16.40 per hour.
- The state with the highest pay for office workers was Connecticut at an average $39,660 per year, or $19.07 per hour; followed by Alaska at a mean $39,380 yearly, or $18.93 hourly; and Massachusetts at a mean $39,210 yearly, or $18.85 per hour.
- If all U.S. territories and possessions are included in the tally, then the highest-paid location for office workers was the District of Columbia, with averages at $46,070 per year, or $22.15 per hour.
The most populous state in the Union, California, also boasted the greatest number of workers, with over 14 million jobs averaging $51,910 per year, or $24.96 per hour.
- The highest paid occupations in the state belonged primarily to healthcare practitioners, including obstetricians and gynecologists, at a mean $222,960 annually, or $107.19 per year; anesthesiologists, averaging $221,990 per year, or $106.73 per hour, and surgeons at an average $216,350 yearly, or $104.02 hourly.
- The highest-paid non-medical profession belonged to chief executives, ranking fifth for pay, with mean earnings of $201,030 per year, or $96.65 per hour.
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