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April 12, 2015

The bottom line: Tax return data puts Montana wages near bottom of nation, again
By Danielle DeMay

There's a good chance you're earning less than most of the country at least on average, according to a recent analysis of 2013 tax return data by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. In the group's most recent report on tax return data by state and county, Montana ranked 49th just above Mississippi and right below New Mexico for wages and salaries reported in tax returns, with Montanans earning an average of $33,180 annually. That's more than $10,000 below the national average and almost $27,000 below the state with the highest average income: Connecticut. But Montana's place at the bottom of average wages isn't news. In fact, Montana has been the lowest for average wages and salaries for every year since 1991 except 2012 (when the state was also second to last) and 2008 (when it moved up to 47th place), according to data from TRAC. The numbers from TRAC vary slightly from state Department of Labor and Industry numbers (based on surveys of employers) reported last month, but both tell an overall story that Montana's average wages are lower than most, if not all other states. Looking at adjusted gross income, the numbers vary slightly, placing Montana at 41st nationally, with an average of $51,979 in 2013.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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