Here's Where the Money Is: The 5 U.S. Counties With the Highest Wages

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported the five counties with the highest average wages in the U.S., and the average worker in those areas makes more than one and a half times than the average person in the United States. 

Those workers in the 334 largest counties in the country had an average weekly wage of $921, which translates to an average pay of almost $48,000 a year. Average pay increased 2.1% year over year and the total number of people employed grew by 1.6%, which represented 2.1 million jobs.

However there were five counties that stood above the rest in term of average weekly pay, including some familiar names, and a few that may be surprising.

5. Arlington, Virginia -- $1,525 Weekly Pay -- $79,300 Annualized


Image Source: Flickr/ Ron Cogswell

Coming in fifth place is Arlington, with its high concentration of high paying government jobs and consulting services that make it an ideal location for employers like Deloitte, Lockheed Martin, and the U.S. Department of Defense. Arlington County also boasts an incredibly low unemployment rate at 3.9%. Interestingly, Arlington has more private office space than downtown Boston, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Denver. 

4. Washington, D.C. -- $1,575 Weekly Pay -- $81,900 Annualized


Image Source: Flickr/ Chris Oakley

Next on the list is Arlington's neighbor, the capitol of the United States, Washington, D.C. Like Arlington there is of course a large number of government jobs, paying on average of $1,825 a week. D.C. also has a very high number of individuals employed in the financial sector, numbering nearly 25,000 with an average pay of $2,223 per week in 2012. 

As with most cities, some of the largest employers are found in the hospital system, but also there is defense company Northrup Grumman and consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton that are among the biggest firms. 

3. San Mateo, California -- $1,632 Weekly Pay -- $84,864 Annualized


Image Source: Flickr/ Jitze Couperus

It should come as no surprise that the county whose southernmost point marks the beginning of Silicon Valley shows up on this list, as we move across the country to San Mateo, California.

This county along the San Francisco Bay incredibly has its best paying industries include not only information (a staggering $5,845 a week), but also manufacturing ($3,327 each week). Yet not only are there technology firms like Oracle, but international credit card mainstay Visa, gaming stalwart Electronic Arts, and even financial firm Franklin Templeton Investments

2. New York, New York -- $1,675 Weekly Pay -- $87,100 Annualized


Image Source: Flickr/ hom26

Traversing back across the U.S. is the county which holds Manhattan. The city is long known for its opportunities, wealth, and high paying jobs. The county is effectively the financial center of the world, and according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those employed in the financial industry (nearly 350,000 individuals) make an astonishing $7,649 per week.

When you consider that the average employee at Goldman Sachs made nearly  $400,000 last year, which is simply the sector average, it shows just how much those on Wall Street can earn.

1. Santa Clara, California -- $1,810 Weekly Pay -- $94,120 Annualized


Image Source: Flickr/ the_tahoe_guy

While New York has the industry with the highest average pay, Santa Clara boasts the highest average across all jobs, with the average person bringing in nearly six figures a year. While New York employers lead the list of the "who's who," of Wall Street, Santa Clara's biggest employers dominate the technology industry as Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Microsoft  all call Santa Clara County home.

While the U.S. is full of pockets of prosperity, these five counties are at the very top.

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