Honolulu pay is 5% above the national average
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Pay in Honolulu averaged 5 percent higher than the nation as a whole last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This places Honolulu in the nation's top tier in terms of pay, according to bureau economist Amar Mann, but he noted that higher pay is offset by the higher cost of living in Hawaii.
The bureau, which surveys 78 metropolitan areas in the United States, also found hourly pay in construction jobs and skilled trades to be notably higher in Honolulu than the rest of the nation.
A construction laborer in Honolulu typically makes $20.82 an hour compared with the U.S. rate of $14.39 an hour. A carpenter makes $26.97 per hour -- significantly higher than the U.S. rate of $19.29 per hour.
In other professions, however, including civil engineers and computer programmers, hourly pay was lower than the national average.
Pay for some professions
Honolulu: $20.82 an hour
Nation: $14.39 (hourly median pay)
Honolulu: $13.22 an hour
Nation: $8.85 an hour
Honolulu: $21.04 an hour
Nation: $20.37 an hour
Honolulu: $11.69 an hour
Nation: $8.91 an hour
Honolulu: $10.62 an hour
Nation: $11.51 an hour
SHORT ORDER COOK
Honolulu: $9.47 an hour
Nation: $8.99 an hour
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor (Occupational Employment Statistics)
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Honolulu in top 20% of U.S. pay
Though offset by cost of living, $19.18 per hour is above average
The average pay of $19.18 an hour in Honolulu was 5 percent higher than the national average in 2006, ranking it in the top tier, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In a comparison of pay in 78 metropolitan areas across the nation, Honolulu ranked No. 17 in a tie with Philadelphia, according to bureau economist Amar Mann.
"Honolulu is basically in the top 20 percent, which is the highest quintile," said Mann.
The uptick in pay, however, is counterbalanced by the higher cost of living and inflation here. Consumer prices for Honolulu went up 5 percent over last year, according to the bureau's report last month, which was more than double the 2.4 percent gain for the entire nation.
Rent for housing, the costs of take-home groceries and fuel all went up.
"Of course, you also have to look at what your costs are like," said Mann.
Still, a typical job in Hawaii is pulling in 5 percent more than in the rest of the country. Construction jobs, in particular, recorded pay that was 13 percent higher than the national average.
A construction laborer in Honolulu makes $20.82 an hour compared with the U.S. average of $14.39 an hour. Carpenters in Honolulu also fare well, making an average of $26.97 compared with the national average of $19.29 an hour.
Mann noted that those in skilled trades in Honolulu are well compensated relative to their counterparts in the rest of nation.
But in some professions the hourly pay was lower. Civil engineers, computer programmers and retail salespeople registered slightly lower hourly pay than the U.S. average.
However, Mann said, none of the broad occupational groupings -- nine in all -- had below-average wages in Honolulu.
"They were at least at or above the national level," he said.
The San Francisco Bay Area topped the nation, with pay that was 19 percent above the national average. Pay was lowest in the Brownsville, Texas, metropolitan area with a pay relative of 78 -- an average of 78 cents for every dollar earned by workers nationwide.
Besides San Francisco, highest-registering metropolitan areas in the western region included Salinas, Calif.; Anchorage, Alaska; and Seattle.