Average earnings per job are consistently and markedly lower in nonmetro areas than in metro areas—about 30 to 35 percent lower in most years since 1990. Much of this difference reflects differences in the mix of jobs, as metro areas have more highly paid professional, managerial, and technical jobs. However, average pay levels within most occupations are also higher in metro areas, although it is uncertain the extent to which these differences reflect the higher cost of living in metro areas.
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