Salt Lake and Provo are top economies but fall behind in wages

The largest metros ranked by job diversity and median wages. Image courtesy LinkUp.

Salt Lake City already has one of the country’s strongest economies and hottest real estate markets, but according to a new report by LinkUp, a data-driven job search company, Utah’s capital city also boasts the most diverse job market for large metro areas.

The Salt Lake City Metro came in at number one in LinkUp’s Job Market Diversification Report for metro areas with more than 1.1 million people.  The ranking measures how various metro areas rate in terms of job openings across various job categories, industries and companies.

The report’s authors analyzed data for the second quarter (Q2) of 2018 to create a composite score that measures the variance of job opportunities within 150 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) by industry, company and job category.  The smaller the variance was between job openings in different job categories and industries the higher the diversity score would be with higher scores indicating more job market diversity.

Among their findings in the Q2 report, the report’s authors found that metros with higher diversification scores tending to also have higher median salaries.  Additionally, the authors found that there were also correlations with high job market diversification and job market resilience, lower unemployment rates, an educated workforce, higher salaries, economic growth and real estate health.

Salt Lake City’s composite score was 53.5, almost two points higher than second-place San Fransisco.  Salt Lake’s low unemployment rate and growing tech and industrial sectors helped to fuel the region’s top ranking.

The LinkUp report also shows the growing interdependence of the Salt Lake and Provo metros.  Provo ranked first for mid-sized metros with a composite score of 55.  Demographers have noted that the two metro areas are increasingly acting as one metro area.

The report also provides evidence that while the Salt Lake and Provo economies are the countries top economic performers, wages aren’t necessarily reflecting the regions’ prosperity.  While Salt Lake ranks first in job diversity, when ranking solely on median wages the metro area ranks 30th out of the country’s largest 50 metro areas, with an annual median wage of $37,840.  Simarily, Provo had the lowest median wage of the top mid-size markets, with an annual median wage of $33,430.

Mid-size metros ranked by job diversity and median wages. Image courtesy LinkUp.

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Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at