Cities Where Manufacturing Jobs Pay Most

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Not all manufacturing jobs are created equal — and certainly not manufacturing pay. According to a new study released by Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program, manufacturing wages differ widely between large cities. Workers in McAllen, Tex., earn an average of roughly $35,000 per year, while those in Silicon Valley earn an average of more than four times that. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 cities with the highest-paid manufacturing jobs.

The Brookings report performed a detailed study of the composition and pay of manufacturing in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan regions. It appears that the biggest determinant of whether manufacturing jobs are high- or low-paying is the type of industry or industries operating in the region. High-tech manufacturing positions, which include the production of computers and electronics, pharmaceuticals and medicines, and aerospace products and parts, pay the highest salaries.

These three categories have the first, second and fourth highest average wages of all types of manufacturing. Computer and electronics manufacturers make an average of more than $95,000, and those in pharmaceuticals production earn an average of more than $100,000. Many of the production jobs in nine of these 10 cities are in one of these three high-tech categories. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif., has large pharmaceutical and computer parts industries.

On top of the region having one or more of these three high-paying industries, there appears to be other drivers in play. Based on the configurations of industries in these cities, Brookings estimated what the average salary should be in these areas. Even then, the actual average manufacturing wages in nine of these regions were 20% higher than their expected wages. In the case of San Jose, the actual average manufacturing salary of $144,899 was more than double the expected wage considering its industry makeup.

The Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program’s report, Locating American Manufacturing: Trends in the Geography of Production, provided detailed information on the major types of manufacturing in each of the 100 largest metropolitan regions in the country. Included in this report is the average wage across all industries, the wage for those in all manufacturing jobs, as well as the average wage for those in high-tech manufacturing jobs.

These are the 10 cities where manufacturing pays the highest.