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The Mountain West is leading the way in salary growth

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News brief: 

Many workers have seen an increase in their annual wages since the pandemic began, and the Mountain West is no exception to this trend.

For those that have stayed at their jobs for more than one year, median yearly pay is now $57,700, according to the payroll, HR and tax services company ADP. Salaries are up 5.9 percent – or about $1,800 – since last August, and they’ve risen by $5,800 since January 2021.

ADP researcher Liv Wang said this trend has a lot to do with persistent labor shortages from the past few years.

“For each job opening, there are fewer workers out there available. Employers [have] to try harder to retain their talents [and] attract new talents, so they will raise the salary,” Wang said.

Every state in the Mountain West saw above-average wage increases for long-term employees in the past year, with Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and New Mexico making up the top four states in the country. Industries especially impacted include leisure and hospitality, education, health services and construction. Women also saw faster wage increases than men, and younger people are more likely to see their pay go up compared to older folks.

Wang expects these trends to slow down as the pandemic fades further into history. The annual pay growth in August was the slowest since October 2021.

“I think right now a lot of things are stabilized. So we will see less excess pay increases than before,” Wang said.

Salary growth is still largely outpacing inflation, which was at 3.7 percent last month.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Will Walkey is a contributing journalist and former reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. Through 2023, Will was WPR's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. He first arrived in Wyoming in 2020, where he covered Teton County for KHOL 89.1 FM in Jackson. His work has aired on NPR and numerous member stations throughout the Rockies, and his story on elk feedgrounds in Western Wyoming won a regional Murrow award in 2021.

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