you considering moving to a new town? Maybe your earnings just aren't
up to par with the cost of living in your current city. Perhaps
you're even having trouble finding a job. If so, it may be time
to look at one of the cities at the top of Salary.com's Salary
Value Index. The compensation experts at Salary.com uncovered
the top (and bottom) US metros for building personal net worth,
taking into account local salaries, cost of living, and unemployment
relative to the national average. Median base pay was correlated
across more than 2,500 different benchmark jobs in the calculations.
Housing costs, living costs, and metro unemployment/job growth figures
were also used to rank the metro areas.
a look at the top 10 and bottom 10 Salary Value Index cities.
Click to see sample salary ranges (for an entry level accountant)
or click on the city to view cost of living information. Compare
the differences between the metros. Try out your own job title to
see if you should move to one of these profitable cities:
cities in Alabama landed at the top of the 2006 Salary Value
Index list, Huntsville,
Alabama at #1. Huntsville is the oldest city in Alabama and
calls itself the "space capital" of America. It also boasts some
of the highest salary levels in the South, ranking #127 in wages
out of the 188 cities on the list. This is due to Huntsville's demand
for highly skilled labor. In fact, Sarasota, FL is the only city
on the 2006 list that has a lower unemployment rate than Huntsville.
The "space capital" is also in the top 10 in terms of
cost of living index. Huntsville is becoming a staple in the top
5 of the Salary Value Index, ranking #2 in 2005.
Head south from Huntsville down Interstate
65 and you'll reach the #2 Salary Value Index city of 2006,
Alabama. Birmingham is known for its southern charm, state parks,
and golf courses. It is also known for its good wages, low cost
of living, and large amount of job opportunities. Birmingham is
in the top 10 in cost of living and employment rate, and ranks just
below its neighbor Huntsville when it comes to wages.
representing the South in the 2006 Salary Value Index is
the Appalachian city of Knoxville,
Tennessee. Knoxville is known for the Tennessee River, Great
Smoky Mountains, and the University of Tennessee. As Knoxville's
population has grown, local average annual salary levels have also
grown. Knoxville ranks #144 out the 188 cities profiled when it
comes to average salary level. The high wage rank, coupled with
the #1 cost of living index in the nation, has propelled Knoxville
to the #3 Salary Value Index city.
out of the South, the city of Reading,
Pennsylvania shows up as #4 on Salary.com's Salary Value
Index list. Reading is the 5th largest city in Pennsylvania
and is most famous for the Reading Railroad, which once carried
coal from the Pennsylvania coal country. Reading has a good balance
of Salary Value Index components, including landing in the
top 10 in terms of cost of living.
an hour from Reading is Salary.com's #5 Salary Value Index city,
Pennsylvania. York is known as the White Rose City, as well
as the Factory Tour Capital of the World, and is famous for manufacturing
weight-training equipment, motorcycles, and HVAC systems. Like its
neighbor Reading, York is well-balanced in Salary Value Index
components, including above-average wages and a top 20 cost of living
no surprise that the high living costs in metros like New
have once again landed these cities at the bottom of the Salary
Value Index. These cities do have some of the highest average
wages in the country, but when it comes time to pay the rent, your
checking account may already be empty.
is the leading provider of detailed compensation information. Through
continual analysis, Salary.com tracks up-to-date salary information
for more than 2,500 job titles in all industries and metros. This
information is available online through the Salary
Wizard. Salary.com also tracks cost of living through the Cost
of Living Wizard.
creating the Salary Value Index, Salary.com correlated the
latest city-by-city pay information against a "market basket" of
living costs that included property values and staples such as food
and energy. Unemployment rates per metro area were also considered.
Metro areas of 250,000 or more residents were included. A metro
area is defined as a radius around the city that is generally commutable
for an employee.