County Employment and Wages Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT), Wednesday, August 22, 2018	USDL-18-1355

Technical Information:	(202) 691-6567  *  QCEWInfo@bls.gov  	*  www.bls.gov/cew
Media Contact:		(202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov

COUNTY EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES
First Quarter 2018

From March 2017 to March 2018, employment increased in 314 of the 349 largest U.S. counties, the 
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Midland, Texas, had the largest percentage increase with 
a gain of 12.6 percent over the year, above the national job growth rate of 1.6 percent. Within Midland, 
the largest employment increase occurred in natural resources and mining, which gained 5,728 jobs over 
the year (26.5 percent). Kanawha, W.Va., had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in 
employment among the largest counties in the U.S., with a loss of 1.4 percent. Within Kanawha, the 
largest employment decrease occurred in state government, which lost 390 jobs (-3.4 percent) over the 
year.

The U.S. average weekly wage increased 3.7 percent over the year, growing to $1,152 in the first 
quarter of 2018. Peoria, Ill., had the largest over-the-year percentage increase in average weekly wages, 
with a gain of 23.8 percent. Within Peoria, an average weekly wage gain of $1,802 (60.6 percent) in 
manufacturing made the largest contribution to the county’s increase in average weekly wages. Forsyth, 
N.C., had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in average weekly wages with a loss of 4.8 
percent. Within Forsyth, professional and business services had the largest impact on the county’s 
average weekly wage change with a decrease of $304 (-18.7 percent) over the year.

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, metropolitan statistical area, state, and national levels by detailed 
industry. These data are published within 5 months following the end of each quarter.

Large County Employment

In March 2018, national employment was 144.6 million (as measured by the QCEW program). Over the 
year, employment increased by 1.6 percent, or 2.3 million. In March 2018, the 349 U.S. counties with 
75,000 or more jobs accounted for 73.1 percent of total U.S. employment and 79.2 percent of total 
wages. These 349 counties had a net job growth of 1.6 million over the year, accounting for 72.4 percent 
of the overall U.S. employment increase. The 5 counties with the largest increases in employment levels 
had a combined over-the-year employment gain of 237,600 jobs, which was 10.5 percent of the overall 
job increase for the U.S. (See table A.) 

Employment declined in 31 of the largest counties from March 2017 to March 2018. Kanawha, W.Va., 
had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment (-1.4 percent), followed by Saginaw, 
Mich.; Alexandria City, Va.; Jefferson, Texas; Montgomery, Ala.; and Caddo, La. (See table 1.)

Table A.  Large counties ranked by March 2018 employment, March 2017-18 employment increase, and
March 2017-18 percent increase in employment

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                                       Employment in large counties
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       March 2018 employment      |      Increase in employment,     |  Percent increase in employment, 
            (thousands)           |           March 2017-18          |           March 2017-18
                                  |            (thousands)           |                  
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                                  |                                  |                                  
 United States           144,562.9| United States             2,269.1| United States                 1.6
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                                  |                                  |                                  
 Los Angeles, Calif.       4,424.4| Los Angeles, Calif.          69.8| Midland, Texas               12.6
 Cook, Ill.                2,565.0| Maricopa, Ariz.              61.5| Utah, Utah                    6.0
 New York, N.Y.            2,446.5| King, Wash.                  39.6| Boone, Ky.                    5.9
 Harris, Texas             2,287.9| Kings, N.Y.                  33.9| Montgomery, Texas             5.6
 Maricopa, Ariz.           1,983.6| Orange, Calif.               32.8| Calcasieu, La.                5.0
 Dallas, Texas             1,684.9| San Diego, Calif.            29.7| Weld, Colo.                   4.7
 Orange, Calif.            1,617.5| Harris, Texas                29.2| Elkhart, Ind.                 4.7
 San Diego, Calif.         1,452.7| Orange, Fla.                 28.4| Kings, N.Y.                   4.7
 King, Wash.               1,375.1| Fulton, Ga.                  25.7| Adams, Colo.                  4.5
 Miami-Dade, Fla.          1,147.0| Dallas, Texas                25.7| Ada, Idaho                    4.5
                                  |                                  | Clark, Wash.                  4.5
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Large County Average Weekly Wages

Average weekly wages for the nation increased to $1,152, a 3.7 percent increase, during the year ending 
in the first quarter of 2018. Among the 349 largest counties, 336 had over-the-year increases in average 
weekly wages. Peoria, Ill., had the largest percentage wage increase among the largest U.S. counties 
(23.8 percent). (See table B.) 

Of the 349 largest counties, 13 experienced an over-the-year decrease in average weekly wages. Forsyth, 
N.C., had the largest percentage decrease in average weekly wages (-4.8 percent), followed by 
Washington, Ark.; McLean, Ill.; Newport News City, Va.; and Lexington, S.C. (See table 1.)

Table B.  Large counties ranked by first quarter 2018 average weekly wages, first quarter 2017-18
increase in average weekly wages, and first quarter 2017-18 percent increase in average weekly wages 

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                                  Average weekly wage in large counties
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        Average weekly wage,      |    Increase in average weekly    |    Percent increase in average
         first quarter 2018       |   wage, first quarter 2017-2018  |         weekly wage, first
                                  |                                  |         quarter 2017-2018
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                                  |                                  |                                  
 United States              $1,152| United States                 $41| United States                 3.7
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                                  |                                  |                                  
 New York, N.Y.             $3,087| Peoria, Ill.                 $277| Peoria, Ill.                 23.8
 Santa Clara, Calif.         2,651| Suffolk, Mass.                245| Suffolk, Mass.               12.1
 San Mateo, Calif.           2,606| San Francisco, Calif.         225| Clayton, Ga.                 11.3
 San Francisco, Calif.       2,485| Santa Clara, Calif.           221| King, Wash.                  10.1
 Suffolk, Mass.              2,268| San Mateo, Calif.             169| San Francisco, Calif.        10.0
 Somerset, N.J.              2,078| King, Wash.                   162| Utah, Utah                    9.7
 Fairfield, Conn.            1,959| Clayton, Ga.                  134| Santa Clara, Calif.           9.1
 Arlington, Va.              1,925| Hudson, N.J.                  125| Muscogee, Ga.                 8.7
 Washington, D.C.            1,917| Snohomish, Wash.              101| Hillsborough, N.H.            8.6
 Morris, N.J.                1,808| Hillsborough, N.H.             98| Snohomish, Wash.              8.6
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Ten Largest U.S. Counties

All of the 10 largest counties had over-the-year percentage increases in employment in March 2018. 
Maricopa, Ariz., had the largest gain (3.2 percent). Within Maricopa, education and health services had 
the largest over-the-year employment level increase, with a gain of 12,239 jobs, or 4.1 percent. Cook, 
Ill., had the smallest percentage increase in employment among the 10 largest counties (0.7 percent). 
Within Cook, education and health services had the largest over-the-year employment level increase, 
with a gain of 6,161 jobs, or 1.4 percent. (See table 2.)

Average weekly wages increased over the year in all of the 10 largest U.S. counties. King, Wash., 
experienced the largest percentage gain in average weekly wages (10.1 percent). Within King, 
professional and business services had the largest impact on the county’s average weekly wage gain. 
Within professional and business services, average weekly wages increased by $305, or 16.9 percent, 
over the year. Los Angeles, Calif., had the smallest percentage gain in average weekly wages among the 
10 largest counties (2.3 percent). Within Los Angeles, manufacturing had the largest impact on the 
county’s average weekly wage growth with an increase of $73 (5.1 percent) over the year. 

For More Information

The tables included in this release contain data for the nation and for the 349 U.S. counties with annual 
average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2017. March 2018 employment and first quarter 2018 
average weekly wages for all states are provided in table 3 of this release.

The data are derived from reports submitted by employers who are subject to unemployment insurance 
(UI) laws. The 10.0 million employer reports cover 144.6 million full- and part-time workers. The full 
set of data for the first quarter of 2018 will be available on September 5, 2018, at www.bls.gov/cew. 
Additional information about the quarterly employment and wages data is available in the Technical 
Note. More information about QCEW data may be obtained by calling (202) 691-6567.

The most current news release on quarterly measures of gross job flows is available from QCEW 
Business Employment Dynamics at www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cewbd.pdf.

Several BLS regional offices issue QCEW news releases targeted to local data users. Links to these 
releases are available at www.bls.gov/cew/cewregional.htm.

_____________
The County Employment and Wages full data update for first quarter 2018 is scheduled to be 
released on Wednesday, September 5, 2018. 

The County Employment and Wages release for second quarter 2018 is scheduled to be released 
on Wednesday, November 21, 2018.

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|                                                                                                          |
|                 County Changes for the 2018 County Employment and Wages News Releases                    |
|                                                                                                          |
|  Counties with annual average employment of 75,000 or more in 2017 are included in this release and      |
|  will be included in future 2018 releases. Three counties have been added to the publication tables:     |
|  Cabarrus, N.C.; Pitt, N.C.; and Kent, R.I.                                                              |
|                                                                                                          |
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|              Change in QCEW Oregon Classification of Services for the Elderly and Disabled               |
|                                                                                                          |
|  Prior to this release, some Oregon workers employed in the services for the elderly and disabled        |
|  industry were classified in QCEW under state government ownership. Beginning with data in this release  |
|  for first quarter 2018, QCEW classifies most of these workers in private ownership. This change in      |
|  ownership resulted from the passage of state legislation in 2017. The industry classification for       |
|  these workers has not changed. For more information, contact the Oregon Labor Market Information        |
|  group at sf202_or@bls.gov.                                                                              |
|                                                                                                          |
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Last Modified Date: August 22, 2018