As the United States continues to recover financially from the pandemic, many businesses are struggling to fill open positions. The combination of expanded job openings, more generous unemployment benefits and a smaller labor force have led to higher overall wages, this is even true in fields such as leisure and hospitality where the lowest wages are often found. So, under current economic climate, how does the Northland rank?

A recent study was conducted by to determine where in the U.S. new hires were being paid the highest wages. They reported that according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau on new hires, average monthly earnings was $3,266 in 2020. This is a number figure that varies widely by industry, job, and location. Not surprisingly, tech jobs pay significantly more than the accommodation and food service industry, for example.

As for the overall methodology for this for this study to find the locations currently providing the highest wages for new hires:

Self analyzed the latest data on new hires from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) dataset, cost-of-living data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’s Regional Price Parity dataset, and home price data from Zillow’s Zillow Home Value Index.

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They then ranked the metro areas studied into three categories: small, midsize and large. Duluth and surrounding communities would be classified as a small metro area based on their criteria.

What they ultimately discovered with this study is that new hires in Duluth are paid below average wages. Here are their findings for the Northland:

  • Average monthly earnings for new hires (adjusted): $2,696
  • Average monthly earnings for new hires (actual): $2,413
  • Average monthly earnings across all workers (actual): $3,598
  • Median home price: $187,433
  • Cost of living (compared to national average): -10.5%

For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:

  • Average monthly earnings for new hires (adjusted): N/A
  • Average monthly earnings for new hires (actual): $3,266
  • Average monthly earnings across all workers (actual): $4,783
  • Median home price: $281,370

An argument could be made that the cost of living in the Northland is less than the national average, as is the reported median home price, but those are finding of this study.

If you're wondering which small to medium metro area is paying new hires the most, that would be in California-Lexington Park, MD where new hires are earning $4,686 monthly on average.

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LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.


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