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Economic News Release
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QCEW QCEW Program Links

County Employment and Wages Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET), Wednesday, August 18, 2021		USDL-21-1514

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 2021

From March 2020 to March 2021, employment decreased in 324 of the 343 largest U.S. counties, the 
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. In March 2021, national employment--as measured by 
the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program--decreased to 140.5 million, a 4.5-
percent decrease over the year. Calcasieu, LA, had the largest over-the-year decrease in employment 
with a loss of 14.9 percent. Employment data in this release are presented for March 2021, and average 
weekly wage data are presented for first quarter 2021. Employment was impacted by the COVID-19 
pandemic and efforts to contain it.

Among the 343 largest counties, 312 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. In the first 
quarter of 2021, average weekly wages for the nation increased to $1,289, a 5.6-percent increase over 
the year. San Francisco, CA, had the largest first quarter over-the-year wage gain at 33.9 percent. (See 
table 1.) Nationally, across most industries, increases in average weekly wages reflected substantial 
employment declines combined with wage increases. The lowest paying industry, leisure and hospitality, 
had the largest employment loss, which resulted in higher average weekly wages for the industry and the 
nation.

Large County Employment in March 2021

Calcasieu, LA, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment (-14.9 percent). Within 
Calcasieu, the largest employment decrease occurred in construction, which lost 3,520 jobs over the year 
(-27.6 percent).

Utah, UT, experienced the largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment with a gain of 6.1 
percent. Within Utah, trade, transportation, and utilities had the largest employment increase with a gain 
of 4,523 jobs (+10.6 percent).

Large County Average Weekly Wage in First Quarter 2021

San Francisco, CA, had the largest over-the-year percentage increase in average weekly wages (+33.9 
percent). Within San Francisco, an average weekly wage gain of $2,398 (+247.5 percent) in leisure and 
hospitality made the largest contribution to the county’s increase in average weekly wages.

Clayton, GA, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in average weekly wages with a loss of 
14.2 percent. Within Clayton, trade, transportation, and utilities had the largest impact, with an average 
weekly wage decrease of $420 (-22.9 percent) over the year.

Ten Largest Counties

Nine of the 10 largest counties had over-the-year percentage decreases in employment. The employment 
data for San Diego, CA, did not meet BLS disclosure standards. In March 2021, New York, NY, had the 
largest over-the-year employment percentage loss (-14.7 percent). Within New York, leisure and 
hospitality had the largest employment decrease with a loss of 153,233 jobs (-53.1 percent). (See table 
2.)

Nine of the 10 largest counties had over-the-year percentage increases in average weekly wages. In first 
quarter 2021, New York, NY, experienced the largest over-the-year percentage gain in average weekly 
wages (+21.0 percent). Within New York, leisure and hospitality had the largest impact, with an average 
weekly wage increase of $95 (+9.9 percent) over the year.

For More Information

The tables included in this release contain data for the nation and for the 343 U.S. counties with annual 
average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2020. March 2021 employment and first quarter 2021 
average weekly wages for all states are provided in table 3 of this release.

The QCEW Technical Note is available at www.bls.gov/cew/news-release-technical-note.htm.

QCEW response rate tables are available at www.bls.gov/cew/response-rates/.

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/regional-resources.htm.

QCEW data are available in the Census Business Builder suite of web tools assisting business owners 
and regional analysts in data-driven decision making at www.census.gov/data/data-tools/cbb.html. 

The QCEW news release schedule is available at www.bls.gov/cew/release-calendar.htm.

____________
The County Employment and Wages full data update for first quarter 2021 is scheduled to be 
released on Wednesday, September 1, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. (ET). 

The County Employment and Wages news release for second quarter 2021 is scheduled to be 
released on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. (ET).



__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

			County Changes for the 2021 County Employment and Wages News Releases

	Counties with annual average employment of 75,000 or more in 2020 are included in this release
	and will be included in future 2021 releases. No counties were added to the publication tables.
	Fourteen counties have been dropped from the publication tables: Baldwin, AL; Napa, CA;
	Forsyth, GA; Maui + Kalawao, HI; Merrimack, NH; Cabarrus, NC; Iredell, NC; Pitt, NC; Greene, OH;
	Kent, RI; Ector, TX; Gregg, TX; Potter, TX; and Racine, WI.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________



The PDF version of the news release

Supplemental Files Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: August 18, 2021