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Los Alamos tops pay scale study

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Compensation: County leads the Southwest in average earnings

Los Alamos County continues to compile records as one of the wealthiest places in the state and the country.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released a study that said the total compensation in Los Alamos County is the highest in the Southwestern United States.

Los Alamos County, with the help of the lab, ranked first among 379 counties in the region with a total average annual compensation of $86,465.

Foard County, Texas had the lowest average compensation at $29,117.

Total compensation is the sum of wage and salary disbursements, and wage and salary supplements.

Here were some highlights for the Southwest region in 2010:
• Total compensation increased in 311 of 379 counties. The largest growth occurred in Kenedy County, Texas at 30 percent, while the largest contraction occurred in Callahan County, Texas at -8.7 percent.
• Increases in health care, social assistance and in the federal government were the largest contributors to the growth in total compensation.
• Metropolitan county compensation increased in 89 of 108 counties. The largest growth occurred in Midland County, Texas at 12.9 percent, while the largest contraction occurred in Callahan County, Texas. Non-metropolitan county compensation increased in 222 of 271 counties.
• The local government sector accounted for the largest share of total compensation at 10.7 percent.

Census data ranks Los Alamos as the sixth richest county in the nation, and a recent Kiplinger magazine report put LA at the top of its list in terms of the highest concentration of millionaires in the U.S.