County Employment and Wages Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT), Wednesday, September 7, 2016	USDL-16-1806

Technical Information:	(202) 691-6567  *  *
Media Contact:		(202) 691-5902  *

First Quarter 2016

From March 2015 to March 2016, employment increased in 318 of the 344 largest U.S. counties, the 
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Williamson, Tenn., had the largest percentage increase 
with a gain of 7.9 percent over the year, above the national job growth rate of 2.0 percent. Within 
Williamson, the largest employment increase occurred in professional and business services, which 
gained 3,598 jobs over the year (11.9 percent). Midland, Texas, had the largest over-the-year percentage 
decrease in employment among the largest counties in the U.S., with a loss of 9.0 percent. Within 
Midland, natural resources and mining had the largest decrease in employment, with a loss of 3,292 jobs 
(-15.0 percent). County employment and wage data are from the Quarterly Census of Employment and 
Wages (QCEW) program, which provides the only detailed quarterly and annual universe count of 
establishments, employment, and wages at the county, MSA, state, and national levels by detailed 
industry. These detailed data are published within 6 months following the end of each calendar quarter.

The U.S. average weekly wage decreased 0.5 percent over the year, declining to $1,043 in the first 
quarter of 2016. This is one of only seven declines in the history of the series which dates back to 1978. 
McLean, Ill., had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in average weekly wages with a loss of 
13.3 percent. Within McLean, an average weekly wage loss of $659 (-31.4 percent) in financial 
activities made the largest contribution to the county’s decrease in average weekly wages. Clayton, Ga., 
experienced the largest percentage increase in average weekly wages with a gain of 15.5 percent over 
the year. Within Clayton, trade, transportation, and utilities had the largest impact on the county’s 
average weekly wage growth with an increase of $305 (23.7 percent) over the year.

Large County Employment

In March 2016, national employment was 140.1 million (as measured by the QCEW program). Over the 
year, employment increased 2.0 percent, or 2.7 million. In March 2016, the 344 U.S. counties with 
75,000 or more jobs accounted for 72.6 percent of total U.S. employment and 78.8 percent of total 
wages. These 344 counties had a net job growth of 2.1 million over the year, accounting for 77.9 percent 
of the overall U.S. employment increase. The five counties with the largest increases in employment 
levels had a combined over-the-year employment gain of 277,300 jobs, which was 10.3 percent of the 
overall job increase for the U.S. (See table A.)

Employment declined in 25 of the largest counties from March 2015 to March 2016. Midland, Texas, 
had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment (-9.0 percent), followed by Lafayette, 
La.; Gregg, Texas; McLean, Ill.; and Weld, Colo. (See table 1.)

Table A.  Large counties ranked by March 2016 employment, March 2015-16 employment increase, and 
March 2015-16 percent increase in employment 

                                       Employment in large counties
       March 2016 employment      |      Increase in employment,     |  Percent increase in employment, 
            (thousands)           |           March 2015-16          |           March 2015-16
                                  |            (thousands)           |                  
                                  |                                  |                                  
 United States           140,070.8| United States             2,683.0| United States                 2.0
                                  |                                  |                                  
 Los Angeles, Calif.       4,309.9| Los Angeles, Calif.          79.7| Williamson, Tenn.             7.9
 Cook, Ill.                2,515.9| Maricopa, Ariz.              58.9| Utah, Utah                    6.7
 New York, N.Y.            2,396.8| Dallas, Texas                49.4| Loudoun, Va.                  6.2
 Harris, Texas             2,256.9| New York, N.Y.               44.8| Rutherford, Tenn.             5.5
 Maricopa, Ariz.           1,864.4| King, Wash.                  44.5| Lee, Fla.                     5.1
 Dallas, Texas             1,614.7| Orange, Calif.               35.8| Benton, Ark.                  5.0
 Orange, Calif.            1,545.7| San Francisco, Calif.        32.1| Osceola, Fla.                 5.0
 San Diego, Calif.         1,388.4| Fulton, Ga.                  31.4| San Francisco, Calif.         4.8
 King, Wash.               1,294.1| Riverside, Calif.            31.0| Riverside, Calif.             4.7
 Miami-Dade, Fla.          1,107.3| San Diego, Calif.            30.9| Washoe, Nev.                  4.7
                                  | Cook, Ill.                   30.9| Horry, S.C.                   4.7

Large County Average Weekly Wages

Average weekly wages for the nation decreased to $1,043, a 0.5 percent decrease, during the year ending 
in the first quarter of 2016. Among the 344 largest counties, 167 had over-the-year decreases in average 
weekly wages. McLean, Ill., had the largest percentage wage decrease among the largest U.S. counties 
(-13.3 percent). (See table B.)

Of the 344 largest counties, 164 experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Clayton, 
Ga., had the largest percentage increase in average weekly wages (15.5 percent), followed by King, 
Wash.; San Mateo, Calif.; Ventura, Calif.; and Merrimack, N.H. (See table 1.)

Table B.  Large counties ranked by first quarter 2016 average weekly wages, first quarter 2015-16
decrease in average weekly wages, and first quarter 2015-16 percent decrease in average weekly wages 

                                  Average weekly wage in large counties
        Average weekly wage,      |    Decrease in average weekly    |    Percent decrease in average 
         first quarter 2016       |    wage, first quarter 2015-16   |         weekly wage, first
                                  |                                  |          quarter 2015-16
                                  |                                  |                                  
 United States              $1,043| United States                 -$5| United States                -0.5
                                  |                                  |                                  
 New York, N.Y.             $2,783| Washington, Pa.             -$146| McLean, Ill.                -13.3
 Santa Clara, Calif.         2,210| McLean, Ill.                 -137| Washington, Pa.             -12.0
 San Mateo, Calif.           2,195| Mercer, N.J.                 -129| Lafayette, La.              -10.3
 San Francisco, Calif.       2,054| Lafayette, La.                -98| Mercer, N.J.                 -8.5
 Somerset, N.J.              2,022| Somerset, N.J.                -93| Williamson, Texas            -7.8
 Fairfield, Conn.            1,899| Williamson, Texas             -85| Orange, Calif.               -6.4
 Suffolk, Mass.              1,890| Orange, Calif.                -78| Allegheny, Pa.               -6.2
 Washington, D.C.            1,766| Midland, Texas                -76| Tulsa, Okla.                 -5.9
 Arlington, Va.              1,734| Allegheny, Pa.                -75| Gregg, Texas                 -5.9
 Morris, N.J.                1,696| Morris, N.J.                  -74| St. Louis, Minn.             -5.8
                                  | Harris, Texas                 -74|                                  

Ten Largest U.S. Counties

Among the 10 largest counties, 9 had over-the-year percentage increases in employment in March 2016. 
King, Wash., had the largest gain (3.6 percent). Within King, professional and business services had the 
largest over-the-year employment level increase, with a gain of 9,047 jobs, or 4.4 percent. Harris, Texas, 
had the only percentage decrease in employment among the 10 largest counties (-1.2 percent). (See table 

Average weekly wages decreased over the year in 8 of the 10 largest U.S. counties. Orange, Calif., 
experienced the largest percentage loss in average weekly wages (-6.4 percent). Within Orange, 
professional and business services had the largest impact on the county’s average weekly wage decline. 
Within professional and business services, average weekly wages decreased by $388, or -22.4 percent, 
over the year. King, Wash., had the largest percentage gain in average weekly wages among the 10 
largest counties (5.1 percent).

For More Information

The tables included in this release contain data for the nation and for the 344 U.S. counties with annual 
average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2015. March 2016 employment and 2016 first quarter 
average weekly wages for all states are provided in table 3 of this release.

The data are derived from reports submitted by every employer subject to unemployment insurance (UI) 
laws. The 9.7 million employer reports cover 140.1 million full- and part-time workers. Data for the first 
quarter of 2016 will be available electronically later at For additional information 
about the quarterly employment and wages data, please read the Technical Note. Additional information 
about the QCEW data may be obtained by calling (202) 691-6567.

Several BLS regional offices issue QCEW news releases targeted to local data users. For links to these 
releases, see

The County Employment and Wages release for second quarter 2016 is scheduled to be released 
on Wednesday, December 7, 2016.

|                                                                                                          |
|                  County Changes for the 2016 County Employment and Wages News Releases                   |
|                                                                                                          |
|  Counties with annual average employment of 75,000 or more in 2015 are included in this release and      |
|  will be included in future 2016 releases. Four counties have been added to the publication tables:      |
|  Merced, Calif.; Napa, Calif.; Bay, Fla.; and Merrimack, N.H. Two counties, Black Hawk, Iowa, and        |
|  Ector, Texas, which were published in the 2015 releases, will be excluded from this and future 2016     |
|  releases because their 2015 annual average employment levels were less than 75,000.                     |
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|                            Change in Oregon Public University Classification                             |
|                                                                                                          |
|  Prior to this release, public universities in the state of Oregon were classified in QCEW under state   |
|  government ownership. Beginning with data in this release for first quarter 2016, QCEW classifies       |
|  these establishments in local government ownership. The industry classification for these institutions  |
|  has not changed.                                                                                        |
|                                                                                                          |
|  This change in ownership resulted from the passage in 2011 and 2013 of state legislation which          |
|  created a new legal entity called "universities with governing boards." Public universities in Oregon   |
|  were reorganized in 2014 and 2015 under this new legal entity. They are now independent public          |
|  bodies that can establish their budgets without state approval. This new political subdivision will be  |
|  classified under local government ownership.                                                            |
|                                                                                                          |
|  For more information, contact the Oregon Labor Market Information group at            |
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Last Modified Date: September 07, 2016