North Dakota wages rise, but still lag behind most statesThe North Dakota State Data Center in Fargo says the average wage in the state increased to $45,218 in 2009, according to the latest data available. That’s a 3.1 percent increase from 2008.
By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald
The average wage per job in North Dakota continues to increase and is outpacing the national growth in compensation, but salaries continue to lag behind most other states.
The North Dakota State Data Center in Fargo says the average wage in the state increased to $45,218 in 2009, according to the latest data available. That’s a 3.1 percent increase from 2008.
Nationally, the average wage per job increased 1.2 percent from 2008 to 2009 to $56,962. Inflation decreased 0.4 percent during the same time.
Richard Rathge, director of the State Data Center, said the buying power of North Dakota workers “significantly increased” from 2008 to 2009.
“These gains reflect North Dakota’s robust economy, led by a strong agricultural market and heightened energy development activity,” he said.
Employee compensation includes wages and salary disbursements, as well as supplements to income such as employer contributions for employee pension and insurance funds.
While the average wage per job has been consistently higher in urban areas of North Dakota compared with rural areas, the gap is narrowing. The average wage per job in non-metro areas was $44,680 in 2009, about 97.9 percent of the $45,650 average compensation in urban areas.
And rural areas saw a 4 percent growth rate in wages from 2008 to 2009, higher than the 2.5 percent growth in metro areas during the same time.
Booming oil production in western North Dakota factored into the state’s growth in wages, and the average compensation per job grew by at least 11 percent in five non-metro counties: Oliver, McLean, Billings, Mountrail and Mercer.
Oliver County in west-central North Dakota actually posted the 30th-highest average compensation per job of $75,267 in 2009 out of the 3,141 counties in the nation.
Even with the state’s growth in wages, North Dakota still lags behind most states and was more than 20 percent below the national average wage of $56,962 in 2009.
Just four states had lower average compensation per job than North Dakota: Idaho ($44,347), Mississippi ($44,263), Montana ($43,480) and South Dakota ($41,774).
Washington, D.C., had the highest average wage per job in 2009 at $98,246, followed by Connecticut ($71,335) and New York ($70,210).