How Do Berkshire County Wages Compare to the Rest of Massachusetts?
Money comes in, and money goes out. That’s what each payday feels like for me and my wife, and I know we’re not alone. Chances are, that’s how you feel also. Between a mortgage, insurance, car payments, kids, food, entertainment, and a myriad of other expenses, wages here in Berkshire County just don’t seem like they’re enough.
It’s no secret that those in central and eastern Massachusetts generally make more than we do here in Berkshire County. Of course, the cost of living is also generally more out there, which tends to offset the wage discrepancy.
I decided to look at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to see how Berkshire County ranks in Massachusetts. It turns out, Berkshire County is second to last in weekly wages. Berkshire County has an average weekly wage of $998.00. The only county lower than us is Franklin County, where workers made an average of $887.00 per week. Unsurprisingly, Suffolk County (home to Boston) had a weekly wage of $2545.00.
In addition, here in Berkshire County, we’re earning under the national average of $1,289.00 per week. However, Massachusetts as a whole ranks number 3 in the nation for average wages, so the eastern part of the state is bringing up those numbers.
Given all this, it’s not surprising to see how many transplants are moving to Berkshire County. We’re close to a number of major cities, we have beautiful scenery, great schools, and access to quality health care (among other reasons). And, seeing as how many companies are now working remotely, it makes sense for people to move here. The low wages have kept the cost of living down compared to most of the state.
The downside, in my opinion, is the low wages in Berkshire County mean many people can’t stay here. I’m not just talking young people, who have always had a tendency to leave this area. I’m talking people from middle age to retirees, who just don’t have the funds to stay in Berkshire County. In Pittsfield, the average home price is around $250,000. That can be difficult to afford if you (and probably your significant other) make the average of $998.00 per week or less here in Berkshire County. Forget living in South County on that wage, and even prices in North Berkshire County are going well over $200,000 for homes. Renting can be even worse, and that's just talking about your monthly housing costs.
If you want more info on wages, and to see where I got the information, you can click on this link: County Employment and Wages in Massachusetts – First Quarter 2021 : New England Information Office : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov)