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15-2031-PHI
Friday, October 16, 2015

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County Employment and Wages in Pennsylvania – First Quarter 2015

Chester County had second largest decrease in wages among nation’s largest counties

Employment rose in 17 of the 19 largest counties in Pennsylvania from March 2014 to March 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are defined as those with employment of 75,000 or more as measured by 2014 annual average employment.) Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that Cumberland County’s 2.4-percent rate of employment gain was the fastest in Pennsylvania and was ranked 135th among the 342 largest counties nationwide. Lancaster County followed with an increase of 1.9 percent, ranking 165th among the nation’s large counties. Butler and Lackawanna Counties recorded the only employment declines among Pennsylvania’s large counties, down 0.6 and 0.1 percent, respectively.

Nationally, employment grew 2.1 percent during this 12-month period, as 323 of the 342 large counties nationwide gained jobs. Utah County, Utah, experienced the largest percentage increase in employment, up 6.7 percent over the year. Atlantic County, N.J., had the largest employment decrease with a loss of 4.3 percent.

Among the 19 largest counties in Pennsylvania, employment was highest in Allegheny County (675,600) in March 2015. One other county, Philadelphia, had employment above 600,000. Together, Pennsylvania’s large counties accounted for 76.7 percent of total employment within the Commonwealth. Nationwide, the 342 largest counties made up 72.3 percent of total U.S. employment.

The average weekly wage in Washington County rose 10.7 percent from the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015—the fastest wage increase among Pennsylvania’s largest counties and ranked second in wage growth among the large counties nationwide. Allegheny was the only other large county in Pennsylvania to rank in the top 15 nationally for wage growth, placing 12th with a 6.3-percent increase. The remaining wage increases in Pennsylvania’s large counties ranged from 3.0 percent in Montgomery to 1.1 percent in Bucks. Two counties—Chester and Cumberland—had wage decreases over the year, while Dauphin County’s average weekly wage was unchanged. (See table 1.) Nationally, the average weekly wage rose 2.1 percent over the year to $1,048 in the first quarter of 2015.

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 48 counties in Pennsylvania with employment below 75,000. Forty-six of these smaller counties had weekly wages below the national average. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

Five of Pennsylvania’s 19 large counties recorded over-the-year wage increases larger than the national advance of 2.1 percent in the first quarter of 2015. Wage growth in all five of these counties ranked in the top third among the 342 large counties nationwide.

Of the 342 largest counties nationwide, 297 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Olmsted, Minn., led the nation in average weekly wage growth with an increase of 11.7 percent from the first quarter of 2014. Washington, Pa., as noted, was second with a gain of 10.7 percent.

Nationwide, 39 large counties recorded decreases in average weekly wages over the year. Snohomish, Wash., had the largest decrease in wages with a decline of 4.8 percent from the first quarter of 2014. Chester, Pa., had the second largest decrease in average weekly wages (-4.0 percent), followed by Williamson, Texas (-3.1 percent); Saginaw, Mich. (-2.4 percent); and Palm Beach, Fla. (-2.0 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

The average weekly wage in one of Pennsylvania’s large counties, Montgomery, ranked 24th in the nation while Chester and Washington also ranked in the top 50 nationwide. In addition to these counties, Philadelphia, Delaware, and Allegheny Counties also had wages above the U.S. average of $1,048.

Five large counties in the Commonwealth had average weekly wages that placed in the bottom fourth of the national ranking—Lackawanna, Erie, Luzerne, Westmoreland, and Lancaster. Wages in these counties were more than 20 percent below the national average for the first quarter of 2015.

Average weekly wages in Pennsylvania’s smaller counties

Forty-six of the 48 counties in Pennsylvania with employment below 75,000 had average weekly wages lower than the national average of $1,048. The exceptions were Montour and Green Counties with wages of $1,243 and $1,111, respectively. Perry reported the lowest weekly wage among the smaller counties as well as the Commonwealth as a whole, averaging $577 in the first quarter of 2015. (See table 2.)

When all 67 counties in Pennsylvania were considered, 59 had wages below the national average of $1,048. Eighteen reported wages below $700, 36 had wages from $701 to $900, and 13 had wages above $900. (See chart 1.) Four of the eight counties that recorded wages above the national average of $1,048 were concentrated in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, and two were located in the Pittsburgh area.

Additional statistics and other information

QCEW data for states have been included in this release in table 3. For additional information about quarterly employment and wages data, please read the Technical Note or visit the QCEW Web site at www.bls.gov/cew/.

Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online features comprehensive information by detailed industry on establishments, employment, and wages for the nation and all states. The 2013 edition of this publication is now available and contains selected data produced by Business Employment Dynamics (BED) on job gains and losses, as well as selected data from the first quarter 2014 version of the national news release. Tables and additional content from Employment and Wages Annual Averages 2013 are now available online at www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn13htm. The 2014 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Online will be available in September 2015.


Technical Note

Average weekly wage data by county are compiled under the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program, also known as the ES-202 program. The data are derived from summaries of employment and total pay of workers covered by state and federal unemployment insurance (UI) legislation and provided by State Workforce Agencies (SWAs). The 9.5 million employer reports cover 137.4 million full- and part-time workers. The average weekly wage values are calculated by dividing quarterly total wages by the average of the three monthly employment levels of those covered by UI programs. The result is then divided by 13, the number of weeks in a quarter. It is to be noted, therefore, that over-the-year wage changes for geographic areas may reflect shifts in the composition of employment by industry, occupation, and such other factors as hours of work. Thus, wages may vary among counties, metropolitan areas, or states for reasons other than changes in the average wage level. Data for all states, Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), counties, and the nation are available on the BLS Web site at www.bls.gov/cew/; however, data in QCEW press releases have been revised and may not match the data contained on the Bureau’s Web site.

QCEW data are not designed as a time series. QCEW data are simply the sums of individual establishment records reflecting the number of establishments that exist in a county or industry at a point in time. Establishments can move in or out of a county or industry for a number of reasons—some reflecting economic events, others reflecting administrative changes.

The preliminary QCEW data presented in this release may differ from data released by the individual states as well as from the data presented on the BLS Web site. These potential differences result from the states’ continuing receipt, review and editing of UI data over time. On the other hand, differences between data in this release and the data found on the BLS Web site are the result of adjustments made to improve over-the-year comparisons. Specifically, these adjustments account for administrative (noneconomic) changes such as a correction to a previously reported location or industry classification. Adjusting for these administrative changes allows users to more accurately assess changes of an economic nature (such as a firm moving from one county to another or changing its primary economic activity) over a 12-month period. Currently, adjusted data are available only from BLS press releases.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.


 

Table 1. Covered employment and wages in the United States and the 19 largest counties in Pennsylvania, first quarter 2015
Area Employment(1) Average Weekly Wage(3)
March 2015(2) (thousands) Percent change, March 2014-15(4) National ranking by percent change(5) Average weekly wage National ranking by level(5) Percent change, first quarter 2010-11(4) National ranking by percent change(5)

United States(6)

137,412.4 2.1 -- $1,048 -- 2.1 --

Pennsylvania

5,606.9 0.9 -- 1,031 16 2.4 16

Allegheny, Pa.

675.6 0.1 320 1,200 55 6.3 12

Berks, Pa.

167.1 1.4 214 881 202 1.5 195

Bucks, Pa.

250.0 1.2 234 930 165 1.1 239

Butler, Pa.

83.3 -0.6 335 919 171 1.9 150

Chester, Pa.

240.1 0.6 290 1,363 27 -4.0 341

Cumberland, Pa.

127.7 2.4 135 908 178 -0.5 314

Dauphin, Pa.

173.7 0.6 290 1,036 100 0.0 298

Delaware, Pa.

215.4 0.8 267 1,143 62 1.9 150

Erie, Pa.

122.6 1.0 254 770 306 1.4 210

Lackawanna, Pa.

95.8 -0.1 326 752 317 1.3 223

Lancaster, Pa.

224.3 1.9 165 818 265 1.9 150

Lehigh, Pa.

178.7 1.1 243 1,006 120 2.9 76

Luzerne, Pa.

139.9 0.8 267 783 297 1.4 210

Montgomery, Pa.

468.0 0.8 267 1,387 24 3.0 67

Northampton, Pa.

105.8 1.3 223 882 200 1.4 210

Philadelphia, Pa.

646.1 1.6 199 1,214 51 2.4 114

Washington, Pa.

86.3 1.5 210 1,219 50 10.7 2

Westmoreland, Pa.

129.5 0.2 314 785 295 1.3 223

York, Pa.

171.5 0.8 267 854 231 1.4 210

Footnotes:
(1) Includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs.
(2) Data are preliminary.
(3) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(4) Percent changes were computed from quarterly employment and pay data adjusted for noneconomic county reclassifications.
(5) Ranking does not include the county of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
(6) Totals for the United States do not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.
(7) Data do not meet BLS or State agency disclosure standards.
 

Table 2. Covered employment and wages in the United States and all of the counties in Pennsylvania, first quarter 2015
Area(1) Employment March 2015(2) Average weekly wage (2)(3)

United States (4)

137,412,381 $1,048

Pennsylvania

5,606,898 1,031

Adams

33,637 703

Allegheny

675,569 1,200

Armstrong

17,003 752

Beaver

51,331 823

Bedford

15,089 631

Berks

167,080 881

Blair

57,434 727

Bradford

24,481 845

Bucks

249,954 930

Butler

83,270 919

Cambria

52,931 686

Cameron

1,980 726

Carbon

16,777 633

Centre

65,412 898

Chester

240,090 1,363

Clarion

13,343 636

Clearfield

29,229 694

Clinton

12,704 773

Columbia

24,593 727

Crawford

30,803 694

Cumberland

127,669 908

Dauphin

173,682 1,036

Delaware

215,359 1,143

Elk

14,762 747

Erie

122,632 770

Fayette

39,279 675

Forest

1,942 885

Franklin

57,392 715

Fulton

4,965 798

Greene

14,893 1,111

Huntingdon

12,003 693

Indiana

31,960 842

Jefferson

15,555 708

Juniata

6,030 665

Lackawanna

95,845 752

Lancaster

224,311 818

Lawrence

28,334 736

Lebanon

47,940 730

Lehigh

178,686 1,006

Luzerne

139,879 783

Lycoming

52,707 809

Mc Kean

15,716 783

Mercer

47,112 737

Mifflin

15,516 680

Monroe

52,396 805

Montgomery

468,007 1,387

Montour

15,270 1,243

Northampton

105,843 882

Northumberland

26,559 713

Perry

7,636 577

Philadelphia

646,118 1,214

Pike

10,182 609

Potter

5,193 736

Schuylkill

49,381 721

Snyder

15,595 601

Somerset

24,105 698

Sullivan

1,762 694

Susquehanna

9,133 724

Tioga

12,729 752

Union

16,637 769

Venango

19,025 691

Warren

14,760 698

Washington

86,320 1,219

Wayne

13,826 684

Westmoreland

129,491 785

Wyoming

9,955 891

York

171,496 854

Footnotes:
(1) Includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs.
(2) Data are preliminary.
(3) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(4) Totals for the United States do not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
 

Table 3. Covered employment and wages by state, first quarter 2015(2)
State Employment(1) Average weekly wage(3)
March 2015 (thousands) Percent change, March 2014-15 Average weekly wage National ranking by level Percent change, first quarter 2014-15 National ranking by percent change

United States(4)

137,412.4 2.1 $1,048 -- 2.1 --

Alabama

1,873.5 1.3 844 39 2.2 19

Alaska

322.2 1.0 1,051 15 2.6 10

Arizona

2,605.6 2.5 926 23 1.0 45

Arkansas

1,166.6 1.3 790 47 0.8 47

California

16,029.5 3.0 1,207 6 3.7 3

Colorado

2,458.0 3.7 1,071 13 2.4 16

Connecticut

1,640.5 0.8 1,382 3 1.5 35

Delaware

422.8 2.5 1,105 9 -0.5 51

District of Columbia

732.6 1.4 1,764 1 3.2 4

Florida

8,018.0 3.6 885 28 1.8 27

Georgia

4,107.0 3.5 989 18 1.7 31

Hawaii

633.7 1.3 881 31 2.8 9

Idaho

650.3 3.1 736 50 2.2 19

Illinois

5,724.6 1.2 1,130 7 2.4 16

Indiana

2,894.8 1.8 857 35 1.4 38

Iowa

1,504.3 1.3 848 37 2.9 7

Kansas

1,357.1 1.0 851 36 1.4 38

Kentucky

1,810.3 1.5 823 41 1.5 35

Louisiana

1,927.1 1.0 885 28 2.0 21

Maine

571.4 0.9 793 45 0.9 46

Maryland

2,540.8 1.2 1,113 8 2.5 12

Massachusetts

3,338.6 1.7 1,341 4 3.2 4

Michigan

4,079.5 1.8 969 21 1.9 24

Minnesota

2,709.2 1.8 1,079 12 4.3 1

Mississippi

1,102.3 0.6 711 51 0.7 48

Missouri

2,678.0 1.7 882 30 1.8 27

Montana

441.0 2.7 750 49 2.6 10

Nebraska

943.1 1.4 818 42 2.5 12

Nevada

1,227.7 3.7 865 34 -0.2 50

New Hampshire

623.5 1.5 982 20 1.2 43

New Jersey

3,834.6 1.4 1,288 5 1.9 24

New Mexico

798.7 1.4 805 43 1.5 35

New York

8,865.0 1.9 1,463 2 0.2 49

North Carolina

4,099.4 2.5 930 22 1.9 24

North Dakota

436.0 1.6 984 19 4.2 2

Ohio

5,144.5 1.4 922 24 1.4 38

Oklahoma

1,592.7 1.3 869 33 2.0 21

Oregon

1,748.7 3.5 919 25 2.9 7

Pennsylvania

5,606.9 0.9 1,031 16 2.4 16

Rhode Island

456.1 1.4 1,008 17 1.2 43

South Carolina

1,919.1 2.5 801 44 1.8 27

South Dakota

406.5 1.5 763 48 3.0 6

Tennessee

2,772.7 2.1 886 27 1.4 38

Texas

11,557.0 2.9 1,089 10 2.5 12

Utah

1,318.8 3.7 845 38 1.7 31

Vermont

303.9 0.9 824 40 2.0 21

Virginia

3,649.3 1.1 1,068 14 1.7 31

Washington

3,064.4 3.2 1,087 11 1.8 27

West Virginia

692.4 -0.3 792 46 1.4 38

Wisconsin

2,734.3 1.5 877 32 2.5 12

Wyoming

277.8 0.8 892 26 1.7 31

Puerto Rico

904.9 -1.1 524 (3) 1.0 (3)

Virgin Islands

38.5 0.0 738 (3) -0.7 (3)

Footnotes:
(1) Includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs. These 328 U.S. counties comprise 71.1 percent of the total workers in the U.S.
(2) Data are preliminary.
(3) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(4) Totals for the United States do not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.
(5) Data not included in the national ranking.
 

 

 Chart 1. Average weekly wages by county in Pennsylvania, first quarter 2015

 

Last Modified Date: Friday, October 16, 2015