Hardworking tradesmen and tradeswomen want every dollar they earn to take them as far as possible. Industrial Trades Pros asked the question for you: “Which cities of the top 50 metropolitan areas are the best or worst paying when you take into account the cost of living?”
We used average pay rate information from Indeed and combined it with cost of living index data from C2ER. The idea behind the study is that a dollar earned in a more expensive city is actually worth less than a dollar earned in a less expensive city. At two extremes, $10 dollars earned in San Francisco, California with a cost of living index of 164 is equivalent to $6.09 in purchasing power (i.e. buying food, paying rent, etc.), while $10 dollars earned in Indianapolis, Indiana with a cost of living index of 87.2 is actually equivalent to $11.47 in purchasing power.
From its data set, Industrial Trades Pros has assembled a list of the adjusted pay levels for CNC machinists in the top 48 largest metropolitan areas in the United States (sorry it’s not an even 50, but there wasn’t enough data for CNC machinist pay rates in Providence, RI and Washington DC!).
The results will surprise you. With 48 cities, adjusted average hourly pay levels range from $15.00 all the way up to $26.70. You might expect the most expensive cities to provide the least value to its CNC machinists, but that is not the case.
Below, see the best and worst major U.S. cities to earn a living as a CNC machinist, ranked from worst to best.
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