Where in the heck is Rock Island County, Ill., and how fast can I get there?
According to a report by one of my favorite data sites for labor figures -- the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics -- Rock Island County in Illinois near the Iowa border had the largest over-the-year gain in average weekly wages in the second quarter of 2008, up 10.5%, with most of it in manufacturing jobs. The U.S. average weekly wage rose by 2.6% during that time.
In other words, workers there received the largest percentage raises in the entire country. Raises in a recession? What is happening in Rock Island County? Are they manufacturing money? Are the streets paved with gold? What is made there that is selling so well? Unfortunately, the BLS report doesn't get into those details, and in my limited research I couldn't find much out about the county.
But the 23-page BLS report, happily titled "County Employment and Wages: Second Quarter 2008," does have plenty of interesting information that shows where the best paying jobs are, and where most jobs are being lost.