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Phila., seven nearby counties see compensation rise

The federal government said 2,500 of the nation's 3,100 counties saw gains in compensation, including most in the Philadelphia region.

This probably won't be billboard material for Occupy Wall Street, but compensation rose in 2,480 counties in the United States between 2010 and 2009, while it declined in 633.

The federal Bureau of Economic Analysis ranks the more than 3,100 counties in terms of total compensation, which is defined as salary and benefits. For example, just 5 percent of those counties have at least $10 billion in total comp.

In the Philadelphia region, eight of the nine counties meet that threshold. The City of Philadelphia (which is a county) stands at the top in terms of total comp with $46.0 billion. At the other end is Gloucester County with $5.5 billion.

But in terms of average compensation per job, Philadelphia comes in third with $67,202 in 2010, up 0.9 percent. Chester County had per-job average of $75,057, while Montgomery County was second with $71,169.

The lowest per-job compensation was in Gloucester County with $52,474. That county was the only one in the region where total compensation declined, which is not surprising given the loss of jobs associated with the closure of Sunoco Inc.'s Eagle Point refinery and a U.S. Postal Service distribution center in 2010.

Come to think of it, the three large counties with the highest average compensation per job in 2010 might make for a good protest sign.

New York, home of Wall Street, topped the list at $116,047, up 6.4 percent from 2009.

Santa Clara County, Calif. -- better known as Silicon Valley -- was second at $107,567, up 9.8 percent.

And the District of Columbia, the center of the political universe, came in third at $101,748, up 3.6 percent.

That's the financial/technology/Big Government complex at work, I guess.