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Earlier this summer, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released metropolitan area employment and wage estimates by occupation on its Internet site for the first time. The data, which provides detailed estimates for 334 metropolitan areas, has not been previously published elsewhere. Click on an MSA and learn how many people there are employed in a particular occupation and their hourly and annual wages. Occupations covered range from hotel desk clerks to systems analysts, lawyers to auto mechanics. The mean annual income of lawyers in the Jonesboro, Arkansas, MSA is $80,230, for example, while their colleagues in Little Rock-North Little Rock pull in $65,770. Comparing data across MSAs isn't easy: You have to sift through the records for each individual MSA, find the occupation you're looking for and do the comparisons manually. That's a job in itself.

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