Move over Beverly Hills.
The land of moguls, mansions and luxury retail was edged out by two Los Angeles ZIP codes for the county's highest annual average wage, according to figures just released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The top honors for ZIP codes with at least 1,000 employees went to Los Angeles 90071 also known as the downtown Financial District with an average annual wage of $116,758 in 2005, the most recent year tracked by the feds. The tiny horizontal slice of downtown is home to the county's largest law firms and regional bank headquarters. With partners at many of the major law firms pulling down more than $1 million each, it's no wonder the 90071 figure is so high.
"There's a lot of money being earned in a very small space downtown," said Jack Kyser, chief economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., which compiled the ZIP code rankings from the raw U.S. Census data for the most detailed picture yet of county wage trends.
Right behind downtown at $115,030 was 90067, the ZIP code exclusively reserved for Century City, which also boasts prominent law and financial offices, especially those serving the entertainment industry. Century City is also home to Northrop Grumman Corp., Fox Group's West Coast operations, AIG/SunAmerica Corp., Univision Communications Ltd. and Herbalife Ltd.
Beverly Hills 90212 (Wilshire Boulevard and points south) came in third at $103,050. The fabled Beverly Hills 90210, which includes many of the city's mansions and the "Golden Triangle" retail district, ranked considerably lower with an average wage of $60,970.
"What people don't remember is that there are a lot of retail jobs in Beverly Hills, and while they may pay better than retail jobs elsewhere, they are still retail wages," said George Huang, the LAEDC economist who compiled the rankings.
No doubt dragging down the 90210 average was the significant number of employees serving as live-in help, a phenomenon that played out to an even greater extent in the mostly residential city of San Marino, where the average wage was a mere $36,438.
If it's any consolation, Beverly Hills still ranked highest overall in terms of average wages, posting a figure of $69,671 in 2005. Virtually tied for the number two spot were the cities of Culver City and Santa Monica, at about $62,500. The average wage for all of the City of Los Angeles was $44,069, but that also includes communities like Pacoima and South Los Angeles.
While these and other low-income areas like Compton and Maywood were towards the low end of the wage scale, they weren't at the bottom of the ZIP code data. That title fell to Northridge 91330, home to California State University Northridge, which posted an average wage of just $13,351, less than a 40-hour-a-week minimum-wage job. "At the university, there are no doubt a lot of students with part-time jobs," Huang said.
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