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16-1261-KAN
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

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County Employment and Wages in Colorado – Fourth Quarter 2015

Employment rose in eight of the nine large counties in Colorado from December 2014 to December 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today. (Large counties are defined as those with employment of 75,000 or more as measured by 2014 annual average employment.) Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman noted that all eight counties reported employment growth exceeding the national average of 1.9 percent. Larimer County had the largest increase at 3.7 percent. Weld was the only large county with an employment decline, down 3.1 percent, from December 2014 to December 2015.

Nationally, employment increased in 308 of the 342 largest U.S. counties from December 2014 to December 2015. Williamson, Tenn., posted the largest percentage increase with a gain of 6.8 percent over the year. Ector, Texas, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment among the largest counties in the U.S. with a loss of 11.8 percent.

Among the nine largest counties in Colorado, employment was highest in Denver (485,300) in December 2015. Three other counties—Arapahoe, El Paso, and Jefferson—had employment levels exceeding 200,000. Together, the nine large counties accounted for 80.3 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 342 largest counties made up 72.5 percent of total U.S. employment.

Average weekly wages increased in all nine large counties in Colorado from the fourth quarter of 2014 to the fourth quarter of 2015. Wages in Adams County experienced the largest rate of growth (5.1 percent), followed by Boulder (5.0 percent). Nationally, average weekly wages increased 4.4 percent. Average weekly wages in four of the large counties exceeded the national average of $1,082. Denver had the highest average weekly among the largest counties in the state at $1,292, followed by Douglas ($1,291), Boulder ($1,265), and Arapahoe ($1,242). (See table 1.)

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 55 counties in Colorado with employment below 75,000. Of these smaller counties, only Broomfield ($1,483) and Pitkin ($1,144) had average weekly wages above the national average. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

All nine large counties in Colorado recorded wage gains from the fourth quarter of 2014 to the fourth quarter of 2015, with two counties posting increases greater than the U.S. average of 4.4 percent. (See table 1.) As mentioned, Adams had the largest wage increase (5.1 percent), placing 148th in the national ranking, followed by Boulder (5.0 percent, 154th). Of the remaining large counties in Colorado, El Paso and Jefferson each had wage growth of 3.9 percent and placed 237th in the national ranking. Douglas (3.0 percent, 289th), Denver (2.9 percent, 291st), Larimer (2.3 percent, 306th), Arapahoe (2.1 percent, 309th), and Weld (0.3 percent, 325th) placed in the bottom quartile of the national ranking.

Among the 342 largest counties in the U.S., 325 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages in the fourth quarter of 2015. Wyandotte, Kan., ranked first in average weekly wage growth with an increase of 10.4 percent. Ten of the 342 largest counties experienced over-the-year decreases in average weekly wages. Midland, Texas, had the largest percentage decline in average weekly wages with a loss of 11.5 percent.

Large county average weekly wages

Four of the state’s large counties had average weekly wages that were above the national average of $1,082, placing them in the top 50 among the 342 largest counties in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2015. Denver ($1,292) and Douglas ($1,291) ranked 34th and 35th, respectively, followed by the counties of Boulder ($1,265, 44th) and Arapahoe ($1,242, 48th). Jefferson’s average weekly wage matched the national average ($1,082, 101st). The average weekly wages in Colorado’s four other large counties ranged from $928 to $1,036.

Nationally, weekly wages were higher than the U.S. average of $1,082 in 100 of the 342 largest counties. Santa Clara, Calif., held the top position among the highest-paid large counties with an average weekly wage of $2,335, followed by New York, N.Y. ($2,235), and San Mateo, Calif. ($2,095). Among the 241 large counties with an average weekly wage below the U.S. average in the fourth quarter of 2015, Cameron, Texas ($649) reported the lowest wage.

Average weekly wages in Colorado’s smaller counties

Of the 55 counties in Colorado with employment below 75,000, only Broomfield ($1,483) and Pitkin ($1,144) had average weekly wages above the national average of $1,082. Mineral County reported the lowest weekly wage in the state with an average of $541 in the fourth quarter of 2015. (See table 2.)

When all 64 counties in Colorado were considered, 6 reported average weekly wages of $599 or less, 14 reported wages from $600 to $699, 19 had wages from $700 to $799, 8 had wages from $800 to $899, and 17 had wages of $900 or higher. Seven of the high-wage counties were concentrated in the vicinity of the major metropolitan areas of Denver and Boulder. (See chart 1.) 

Additional statistics and other information

Quarterly 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 2014 edition of this publication contains selected data produced by Business Employment Dynamics (BED) on job gains and losses, as well as selected data from the first quarter 2015 version of the national news release. Tables and additional content from the 2014 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online are now available at www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn14.htm. The 2015 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2016.

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

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


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 9.7 million employer reports cover 141.9 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.

Table 1. Covered employment and wages in the United States and the 9 largest counties in Colorado, fourth quarter 2015
Area Employment Average weekly wage (1)
December 2015 (thousands) Percent change, December 2014-15 (2) National ranking by percent change (3) Average weekly wage National ranking by level (3) Percent change, fourth quarter 2014-15 (2) National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

141,924.5 1.9 -- $1,082 -- 4.4 --

Colorado

2,537.5 2.5 -- 1,103 11 3.3 40

Adams, Colo.

195.0 2.8 108 1,036 134 5.1 148

Arapahoe, Colo.

321.8 2.8 108 1,242 48 2.1 309

Boulder, Colo.

175.1 2.5 130 1,265 44 5.0 154

Denver, Colo.

485.3 3.2 77 1,292 34 2.9 291

Douglas, Colo.

115.3 3.2 77 1,291 35 3.0 289

El Paso, Colo.

261.5 3.2 77 952 200 3.9 237

Jefferson, Colo.

232.8 3.0 93 1,082 101 3.9 237

Larimer, Colo.

149.9 3.7 46 986 173 2.3 306

Weld, Colo.

100.2 -3.1 333 928 227 0.3 325

Footnotes:
(1) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(2) Percent changes were computed from quarterly employment and pay data adjusted for noneconomic county reclassifications.
(3) Ranking does not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.
(4) Totals for the United States do not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.
 

Note: Data are preliminary. Covered employment and wages includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs.
 

Table 2. Covered employment and wages in the United States and all counties in Colorado, 4th quarter 2015
Area Employment December 2015 Average Weekly Wage (1)

United States (2)

141,924,459 $1.082

Colorado

2,537,491 1,103

Adams

195,015 1,036

Alamosa

7,942 731

Arapahoe

321,755 1,242

Archuleta

3,831 682

Baca

1,092 554

Bent

1,195 654

Boulder

175,110 1,265

Broomfield

36,771 1,483

Chaffee

7,265 725

Cheyenne

658 829

Clear Creek

3,268 954

Conejos

1,357 560

Costilla

799 553

Crowley

1,076 771

Custer

866 654

Delta

8,157 669

Denver

485,317 1,292

Dolores

497 687

Douglas

115,290 1,291

Eagle

33,956 899

Elbert

3,379 808

El Paso

261,546 952

Fremont

13,165 752

Garfield

26,018 951

Gilpin

4,958 826

Grand

7,861 707

Gunnison

8,412 706

Hinsdale

239 613

Huerfano

1,663 570

Jackson

495 686

Jefferson

232,786 1,082

Kiowa

428 633

Kit Carson

3,009 717

Lake

2,322 659

La Plata

25,379 975

Larimer

149,916 986

Las Animas

4,786 722

Lincoln

2,140 724

Logan

8,357 732

Mesa

60,152 843

Mineral

607 541

Moffat

4,773 902

Montezuma

8,738 694

Montrose

14,250 763

Morgan

11,982 825

Otero

5,927 675

Ouray

1,587 751

Park

2,259 730

Phillips

1,629 724

Pitkin

17,771 1,144

Prowers

4,480 671

Pueblo

59,532 817

Rio Blanco

2,805 1,036

Rio Grande

3,699 717

Routt

15,196 903

Saguache

1,539 642

San Juan

263 552

San Miguel

5,622 831

Sedgwick

825 646

Summit

23,407 790

Teller

6,873 759

Washington

1,243 710

Weld

100,154 928

Yuma

3,913 777

Footnotes:
(1) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(2) Totals for the United States do not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.
 

Note: Includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs. Data are preliminary.
 

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

United States (2)

141,924.5 1.9 $1,082 -- 4.4 --

Alabama

1,916.2 1.4 912 37 3.4 37

Alaska

315.9 -0.5 1,095 13 2.9 43

Arizona

2,701.8 2.6 967 24 4.4 28

Arkansas

1,201.4 1.7 838 46 3.8 35

California

16,593.8 3.1 1,274 5 5.4 10

Colorado

2,537.5 2.5 1,103 11 3.3 40

Connecticut

1,685.1 0.3 1,334 4 4.3 29

Delaware

441.2 1.8 1,086 15 3.4 37

District of Columbia

754.2 2.2 1,756 1 3.4 37

Florida

8,308.1 3.7 958 26 5.2 16

Georgia

4,249.4 2.9 1,001 21 4.5 27

Hawaii

653.0 2.2 957 27 5.4 10

Idaho

670.1 3.4 803 50 2.6 45

Illinois

5,931.2 1.4 1,146 8 5.1 18

Indiana

2,996.3 1.7 891 40 5.3 14

Iowa

1,539.0 0.7 920 34 5.7 3

Kansas

1,382.1 0.4 898 38 5.0 20

Kentucky

1,881.3 1.6 885 41 5.9 1

Louisiana

1,937.4 -1.0 940 29 1.8 47

Maine

596.9 0.7 873 43 5.7 3

Maryland

2,636.7 1.7 1,175 7 5.6 5

Massachusetts

3,479.1 1.6 1,385 2 5.4 10

Michigan

4,218.9 1.5 1,043 18 5.9 1

Minnesota

2,805.8 1.5 1,073 16 4.8 22

Mississippi

1,133.8 1.3 770 51 3.1 41

Missouri

2,759.6 1.8 933 33 4.6 25

Montana

453.2 2.5 818 49 3.0 42

Nebraska

971.8 1.4 880 42 5.1 18

Nevada

1,272.2 3.5 935 32 4.0 31

New Hampshire

648.6 1.7 1,139 9 5.4 10

New Jersey

3,988.4 1.7 1,262 6 4.0 31

New Mexico

808.9 -0.1 865 44 1.8 47

New York

9,227.6 1.7 1,372 3 3.9 34

North Carolina

4,247.1 2.5 939 30 5.5 8

North Dakota

428.1 -5.9 1,021 20 -2.8 51

Ohio

5,328.8 1.2 964 25 4.6 25

Oklahoma

1,605.0 -0.7 896 39 2.3 46

Oregon

1,814.8 3.3 979 23 5.5 8

Pennsylvania

5,759.7 0.7 1,063 17 4.9 21

Rhode Island

478.1 1.5 1,043 18 4.0 31

South Carolina

1,987.1 2.8 860 45 5.3 14

South Dakota

417.7 1.2 832 47 5.2 16

Tennessee

2,898.1 2.8 980 22 5.6 5

Texas

11,832.1 1.4 1,099 12 2.7 44

Utah

1,375.6 3.8 913 36 4.7 23

Vermont

312.1 0.3 919 35 4.1 30

Virginia

3,806.2 3.0 1,094 14 3.5 36

Washington

3,137.2 2.3 1,132 10 4.7 23

West Virginia

703.7 -1.3 829 48 1.3 49

Wisconsin

2,820.5 1.1 944 28 5.6 5

Wyoming

276.0 -2.9 937 31 -1.7 50

Puerto Rico

929.9 -1.6 565 (3) 1.6 (3)

Virgin Islands

38.4 -0.3 787 (3) 4.7 (3)

Footnotes:
(1) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(2) Totals for the United States do not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.
(3) Data not included in the national ranking.
 

Note: Data are preliminary. Covered employment and wages includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs.
 

 

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, June 21, 2016