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Chart of the Day: Detroit's Healthy Wages Affect Presidential Primary

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum will go head to head in today's primary races, held in Michigan and Arizona. Romney is clearly leading the polls in Arizona, so much of the focus today will be on Michigan, where it looks like Romney and Santorum may be tied.

The Battle in Michigan

Many political strategists had earlier predicted Romney as the clear winner of the Great Lakes State. Romney was born in Detroit and grew up in the suburb of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. His father was first the CEO of American Motors Corporation (later purchased by Chrysler) and served three terms as Governor of the State of Michigan. In addition, during the 2008 presidential race, Romney carried the state with a solid lead over John McCain.

Today's GOP primary is the last primary before Super Tuesday, which falls on March 6, making Michigan a must win state. One focus for both the candidates and voters has been job growth, specifically in manufacturing and the auto industry.

The PayScale Index shows that both the city of Detroit and the manufacturing industry have seen wages grow in recent quarters. This rise in wages means the demand for labor has increased and thus more workers are finding jobs. 

"Because the economic health indicators in both Michigan and Arizona have shown some significant improvements in recent quarters, spending time criticizing President Obama’s economic policies may not impress these populations," says Katie Bardaro, lead analyst at PayScale.com

The following chart shows how wages for full-time, private industry workers have risen and fallen since 2006. The upward trend is easy to see.

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