San Mateo Is Now The Highest Paid County In America, Thanks To Facebook

Image via Flickr/ DV's travels

San Mateo might as well be renamed Facebook. The social network’s 2011 move to the California suburb made San Mateo the highest paid county in the country.

The presence of Facebook pushed wages up to $1,677 per week, an 107 percent increase. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for the county is now $3,240 a week, or $168,000 a year.

The primary culprit is Facebook’s IPO, which went public last year and turned nearly 1,000 of Facebook’s employees into millionaires—who now reside in San Mateo.

The 6,200 people are employed at the company’s headquarters garnered $6.8 billion in the fourth quarter alone, which equates to an average of $82, 891 per person per week, but this is not a person’s actual paycheck. The Bureau’s definition of “wages” includes bonuses, stock and stock options.

“That kind of a jump can only be explained by what’s happening with stock and stock options from recent IPOs,” Doug  Henton, chief executive of a consulting firm in San Mateo, Collaborative Economics, told the Wall Street Journal.  “It will be interesting to see if that wealth bump is reflected in giving back to the community.”

Though the bureau did not explicitly state the reason for the dramatic spike in wages, it coincides with the Facebook move and it is believed that the move also sparked other companies to relocate or start up in the area.

The new location sprawls across 57 acres and aimed to maximize productivity and room for growth (the company also owns a 22-acre adjacent lot). The location feature glass-paneled conference rooms and no private office or cubicles.

John Tenanes, Facebook’s Global Director of Real Estate said in a post, “Some features of the campus might be familiar.  We’ve always believed in ‘hacking out’ our space—putting up posters and scribbling ideas on the walls—so we lined the hallways with chalkboard paint and put a box of chalk on everyone’s desk.  Everywhere you go is stimulating and different.  We’ve exposed the ductwork along the high-ceilinged corridors to give the place an unfinished feel and remind us that our work is never done.”

Now that San Mateo has taken the number one spot for highest paid county, New York City is knocked down to number two.