September 28, 2012
From March 2011 to March 2012, employment increased in 293 of the 328 largest counties. Gregg, Texas, posted the largest employment increase, with a gain of 6.0 percent over the year.
Within Gregg (which is part of the Longview metropolitan area), the largest employment increase occurred in construction, which gained 1,948 jobs over the year (28.7 percent). Benton, Washington (part of the Kennewick-Pasco-Richland metropolitan area), experienced the largest over-the-year decrease in employment among the largest counties in the U.S. with a loss of 3.9 percent. The national job growth rate was 1.8 percent.
Over the March 2011 to March 2012 period, the U.S. average weekly wage increased by 5.4 percent to $984. Williamson, Texas (part of the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos metropolitan area), had the largest over-the-year increase in average weekly wages with a gain of 27.4 percent. Within Williamson, a total wage gain of $298.1 million (49.5 percent) in the trade, transportation, and utilities industry had the largest impact on the county's increase in average weekly wages. New York, New York (also known as Manhattan), experienced the largest decrease in average weekly wages with a loss of 6.3 percent.
These data are from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program. To learn more, see "County Employment and Wages: First Quarter 2012" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-12-1939. Large counties are defined as having employment levels of 75,000 or greater. Data are derived from summaries of employment of workers covered by state and federal unemployment insurance. Data for 2012 are preliminary and subject to revision.