Can you believe it’s been just about 10 years since we knew the U.S. economy was going downhill?
As a whole, the country seems to have recovered: Interest rates are up, unemployment is down, and housing prices are at an all-time high.
Although some places are thriving, others feel like they’re stuck in a bad 2000s movie — and have seen income drop since the recession.
The Penny Hoarder recently compiled a list of cities where income has grown and dropped the most since 2008.
Here are the top five cities in each category as well as tips for increasing your income no matter where you live.
5 cities where income has grown the most
These cities are rebounding harder than Dennis Rodman. In order from least to most, here are the cities that have seen the biggest income gains over the past decade.
5. Fayetteville, Arkansas
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Annual income: $53,662
Gain since 2008: 22 percent
4. Goshen, Indiana
Annual income: $40,240
Gain since 2008: 23.7 percent
3. Hanford, California
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Annual income: $32,793
Gain since 2008: 23.8 percent
2. Bismarck, North Dakota
Annual income: $52,729
Gain since 2008: 25.1 percent
1. Carson City, Nevada
Annual income: $41,804
Gain since 2008: 40.9 percent
A number of factors — greatly dependent on location — led to these jumps.
In Bismarck, for example, “energy, agriculture, retail, and healthcare” have seen “marked growth” since the recession, according to Kate Herzog, marketing and assistant director at the Downtown Business Association of Bismarck.
“The entrepreneurial ecosystem has also contributed to sustainable growth in jobs, with groups like Start Bismarck fueling development in technology and startup businesses,” she said. “Employers are also focusing on key community livability features to attract talent and smart economic growth.”
5 cities where income has fallen the most
Unfortunately, the following five cities have seen the biggest drops in income since 2008.
5. Olympia, Washington
Annual income: $38,157
Loss since 2008: 3.3 percent
4. Longview, Texas
Annual income: $42,153
Loss since 2008: 3.3 percent
3. Grand Junction, Colorado
Annual income: $37,749
Loss since 2008: 4.1 percent
2. Midland, Michigan
Annual income: $45,273
Loss since 2008: 5.2 percent
1. Charlotte, North Carolina
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Annual income: $44,095
Loss since 2008: 11 percent
Sarah Eiley Cowherd, a Charlotte-based doula, found the news about her city surprising.
“We moved from Syracuse, New York, a typical decaying Rust Belt city, and are still amazed to see how much growth and economic opportunity exists in Charlotte,” she said. “There are cranes and excavators everywhere, and whole neighborhoods are being rebuilt.”
How to increase your income — no matter where you live
Whether you live in a city on the first list, in a city on the second list, or somewhere in between, you can always take matters into your own hands.
Here are a few suggestions for increasing your earning power wherever you live.
Improve your value proposition
Before you can even think about asking for more money at your current job — or looking for one that pays better — you need to increase your value.
Here are some strategies to try:
- Ask for more responsibility: With more responsibility comes more money, but you have to ask for it. Propose managing an intern, training a new hire, or leading a special project.
- Find problems to solve: If your boss won’t give you more responsibility, then take it. Look around your workplace for problems to solve; once they see you taking initiative, they might give your request a second look.
- Learn new skills: Think about the skills that would help you do your job better. Coding? Marketing? Graphic design? Then find a way to learn them on Udemy or at a community college.
Ask for a raise
Ready to strike a power pose? If you’ve followed the steps above and spent time increasing your value proposition, then asking for a raise should be no sweat.
But preparation is critical. Here are some steps you can take to prepare before asking for a raise:
- Outline your case in writing: Include details about your achievements and increased job responsibilities.
- Use numbers: Pull salary data from websites such as PayScale and Glassdoor, and if you can, add information about how much you’ve contributed to the company’s bottom line.
- Schedule an in-person meeting: Write up your argument and schedule an in-person meeting to review it.
Consider making a side income in other ways
Tried the steps above and your income still isn’t cutting it? Then it might be time to launch a side hustle.
You could rent out a room on Airbnb, start pet sitting, drive for Uber, or do anything else you think would be a good fit. The important thing is that you enjoy and are good at your chosen gig — and that it’s something people will pay for.
Although some cities have prospered since the recession, others have suffered. No matter where you live, though, you can take action to advocate for yourself and your paycheck.
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