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There hasn’t been a whole lot of significant wage growth since the Great Recession, to say the least, but, based on new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), things may be looking up. The BLS’s latest County and Employment Wage Summary compared the 344 largest counties in the United States. The good news is 164 counties experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly wages.

But there’s even better news if you live in one of these top counties.

5. Merrimack, New Hampshire

The county experienced a 4.3% over-the-year increase in average weekly wages. The average weekly salary is now $907.

4. Ventura, California

Wages went up year-over-year by 4.4% with the average weekly salary now at $1,083.

3. San Mateo, California 

Wages went up year-over-year by 4.8% and the average weekly salary is now $2,195.

2. King, Washington

Wages went up year-over year by 5.1% where the average weekly salary is now $1,456.

1. Clayton, Georgia

This county had the largest percentage increase in average weekly wages: 15.5%. The average weekly wage in Clayton is $1,146. “Within Clayton, trade, transportation, and utilities had the largest impact on the county’s average weekly wage growth with an increase of $305 (23.7%) over the year,” according to a BLS press release.

The BLS’ employer reports cover 140.1 million full- and part-time workers. And, if you’re thinking of finding a job, now might be the time. Per the BLS, employment increased in most (318) of the largest counties in the U.S., with Williamson, Tennessee, taking the lead with the largest percent increase: 7.9 % in job growth over the year, far above the national job growth rate of 2.0%. Within Williamson, the largest employment increase occurred in professional and business services, which gained 3,598 jobs over the year.

Using Your Wages Wisely 

If you’re one of the lucky ones who experienced a raise in your paycheck, it can be tempting to upgrade your lifestyle. Before you do, consider paying down your debts first. High debt levels can hurt your bank account — and your credit. And a good credit score can pave your way to a better situation if you ever find your paychecks stagnating, because it can help secure lower interest rates on any financing you’re looking for and save you on certain service plans. You can keep an eye on two of your credit scores, updated every 14 days, for free on Credit.com.

Image: JackF

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