The American economy is slowly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate has been decreasing, dropping to 5.8% in May from 6.1% in April. During the pandemic, despite severe job losses, average wages actually rose, as many lower-wage workers lost their jobs, while higher-income workers mostly kept theirs.
Though wages grew nationwide, many parts of the country are still lagging behind the national median. The U.S. median annual wage was $41,950 in 2020. Yet in many major metro areas, the median wage was thousands of dollars lower.
To determine the cities with the lowest paying jobs, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on median wage for 389 metropolitan statistical areas from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program.
Of the 25 cities with the lowest paying jobs, 23 are in Southern states. Texas and Alabama are both home to four metro areas on this list, more than any other state. Florida and Arkansas both have three. Arizona and New Mexico are the only states outside of the South with a metro area on the list. These are America’s richest and poorest states.