Where wages were highest in Maine and the nation (hint: not Maine) in 2013

The most detailed survey on wages and employment issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the average wage in Maine rose about 2 percent from 2012 to 2013. The national average weekly wage rose about 1 percent for the same period.

That’s for private sector employees on a payroll (the data is comes through the unemployment insurance system), or most of the work force (about 70 percent of the labor force nationally and a few percentage points more in Maine for 2013). It does not include the self-employed and others not on a payroll.

Wage figures for all privately owned businesses and all government payrolls were slightly higher but an interactive analysis from BLS showed the majority of U.S. counties were below the average weekly wage of $958. Excluding government payrolls, that average was $956 nationally.

Overall, Maine’s average weekly wage of $746 for 2013 ranked 47th in the country, above Arkansas and behind South Carolina. Maine’s average weekly wage at private employers was up $14, from $732 in 2012. Comparing across the states presents some challenge in this data, however, because the average weekly wage estimates are affected by the industry makeup and ratio of full-time to part-time employees.

Here’s a look at where Maine stacks up with the rest of the nation:

Within Maine, Sagadahoc County had the highest average weekly wage in 2013, at $890. Penobscot County was fifth-highest at $686 and Piscataquis County was the lowest at $546. Washington County was fourth-lowest, ahead of Piscataquis, Lincoln and Aroostook Counties.

This is all keeping in mind that these are the average wages paid to people on a payroll in 2013. It does not reflect work force participation in an area or total purchasing power like the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ per capita personal income estimates.


Darren Fishell

About Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.