Published April 1, 2000 | April 2000 issue
The good news in Eau Claire is that wages are going up faster than just about anywhere. The bad news is they're still not good enough to get them off the bottom of the wage ladder among the state's metropolitan areas. Eau Claire workers saw their wages increase by 6.2 percent in 1998the largest of any of Wisconsin's 11 metropolitan regions. The area's near-record low unemployment of 2.8 percent is credited as one of the main drivers of the wage increase, along with strong growth in higher-skilled health care and manufacturing jobs and a vigorous construction sector trying to keep pace with business's expansion needs.
Yet despite the wage surge, Eau Claire's annual average wages of $24,615 still rank dead last among the state's metro regions, and in the bottom quarter among metros nationwide.