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Wages in Utah

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It's nice to know Utah is not necessarily a "low wage state."

Official data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics may say we are - that the weekly wage in Utah is about 82 percent of the national average, which places Utah about 40th nationally. That's the discouraging story we've heard for years.

A local research group, though, the Utah Foundation, dug a little deeper and discovered the government's official findings are a bit misleading.

In their words, "the BLS data . . . do not take into account the unique structure of Utah's labor force." The BLS "includes the wages of part-time workers in its calculation of average weekly wage."

Utah has one of the highest percentages of part-time workers in the nation: students putting themselves through school; moms supplementing the family income; seasonal workers in the tourism industry.

Take them out of the equation and Utah's ranking improves significantly - to about 27th nationally. Parenthetically, the research reveals a disturbing disparity between the wages of full-time male and female employees that needs to be more fully explored.

Still, the Utah Foundation research debunks the long-held view that wages in Utah, especially for full-time workers, are significantly less than in other parts of the nation. They're not . . . and that's nice to know.

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