Chicago, the big metropolitan areas of the Northeast and most large California cities are lagging behind other large cities in the growth of high wage jobs:
In an era in which many businesses that pay high wages have been shedding jobs, the wide-ranging employment category of professional, scientific and technical services has been a relatively stellar performer, expanding some 15% since 2001. In contrast, employment dropped over 20% in such lucrative fields as manufacturing and information-related businesses (media, telecom providers, software publishing) over the same period, and finance and wholesale trade experienced small declines.
With an average annual wage nearing $90,000, this category — which includes computer consulting and technical services, accounting, engineering and scientific research, as well as legal, management and marketing services — increasingly shapes the ability of regions to generate higher-wage jobs. In order to determine which metropolitan areas are doing best, Mark Schill of Praxis Strategy Group compiled rankings based on both long and short-term growth, as well as the extent and growth of each region’s business service economy compared to the national average.
Notably absent from the top 10 are Chicago and the big metropolitan areas of the Northeast and California that have traditionally dominated high-end business services. The only exception is the third-ranked San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metropolitan statistical area, which has logged 21% growth in this sector since 2001, while expanding the proportion of such jobs in the local economy to nearly twice the national average. Over the past year alone the region added 22,000 professional and business services jobs, which was more than a quarter of all new positions during that period.
Just a quick temperature check. Would you rather live in San Francisco or Chicago?