A report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Ocean County has New Jersey’s second-lowest average weekly wage, as the the entire state lags the national average for salary increases.
For the fourth quarter of 2017, Ocean County residents earned an average of $883 per week, second only to Cape May County’s $783 weekly average. The highest weekly wage was earned by workers in Morris County, at $1,582, the report showed.
While New Jersey’s proximity to New York City and Philadelphia drove up wages in some counties, others struggled with a high cost of living and no access to major cities or employers to support it. Atlantic County, home to a similar service-based economy as Ocean and Cape May, suffered the same fate. Its $914 average weekly wage was the third lowest.
Making matters worse, the same data set showed New Jersey’s pay increases were among the worst in America. NJ Spotlight, a public affairs website, reported:
The overall wage hike of 1.8 percent for New Jersey was lower than all the states and the District of Columbia except for Alaska. Still, New Jersey had the sixth highest average pay, behind D.C., Massachusetts, New York, California and Connecticut. (The average weekly salary in the nation’s capital totaled $1,812.)
At the same time, New Jersey had the sixth highest average pay in the nation, even if some parts of the state were not reaping the benefits.
The rare good news for Ocean County workers came in the form of the number of people employed. The employment rate grew 2.4 percent in 2017 and wages increased 1.3 percent. Still, the wage increase was below both the national (1.7 percent) and state (1.6 percent) averages.