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Six Lower-Than-Expected Areas for Wage Pressure in Business Recruiting

Last week CareerBuilder announced the acquisition of Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI), a provider of high-quality employment data and economic analysis. Using the EMSI Average Standard Wage Index, we created a list of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) that display higher-than- and lower-than-expected average salaries for business and financial operations occupations.

Higher-than-expected salaries may indicate a relative occupation labor shortage, making it a less-than-ideal place for a business to launch a recruiting effort, but perhaps a good place for the job seeker to focus effort. If a region has lower-than-expected salaries in a particular occupation, the opposite may be true.

According to the data, the six “large” MSAs where business and financial operations salaries tend to be the lowest, based upon average expectations, are:

Spokane, WA


Madison, WI


Fresno, CA


Honolulu, HI


Tacoma, WA


Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, CA


The full list of high-cost and low-cost MSAs is listed below. The graphic divides MSAs into three broad groups according to size measured in number of jobs:

  • “Large MSAs” have greater than 190,000 jobs.
  • “Mid-sized MSAs” have between 190,000 and 69,000 jobs.
  • “Small MSAs” have less than 69,000 jobs.

For a deeper understanding of how EMSI compiles these lists, go here.

EMSI Wage Index

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Stephanie Gaspary

About Stephanie Gaspary

Stephanie is the managing director of content strategy at CareerBuilder, tasked with creating opportunities to share the CareerBuilder story across job seeker and employer channels. Stephanie, a lifelong learner, holds a Master's in Business Administration and a Master's in Management - both from North Park University and a Bachelor's degree in Art from Bethel University. A Minnesotan at heart, Stephanie has lived in Chicago for nearly 20 years, is the doting mother to two wacky german shorthaired pointer pups, looks forward to her morning run *almost* as much as that first cup of coffee and vows to one day live in the mountains.


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