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News Release Information

17-1352-PHI
Friday, September 29, 2017

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County Employment and Wages in Pennsylvania – First Quarter 2017

All large counties in Pennsylvania had average weekly wage increases over the year

Employment rose in 13 of the 19 largest counties in Pennsylvania from March 2016 to March 2017, 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 2016 annual average employment.) Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that Northampton County’s 3.1-percent rate of employment growth was the fastest in Pennsylvania, followed by Philadelphia County with an employment increase of 2.2 percent. Five of Pennsylvania’s large counties had employment declines with Erie having the largest decrease, down 1.0 percent. One county—Washington—had no change in employment from March 2016 to March 2017.

Nationally, employment increased 1.6 percent during this 12-month period, as 299 of the 346 large counties nationwide gained jobs. York County, S.C., had the largest percentage increase in employment, up 6.8 percent over the year. Kanawha County, W.Va., had the largest employment decrease with a loss of 2.7 percent.

Among the 19 largest counties in Pennsylvania, employment was highest in Allegheny County (685,000) in March 2017. One other county, Philadelphia, had employment above 600,000. Together, Pennsylvania’s 19 large counties accounted for 77.1 percent of total employment within the commonwealth. Nationwide, the 346 largest counties made up 72.8 percent of total U.S. employment.

The average weekly wage in Washington County increased 9.1 percent from the first quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2017—the largest wage increase among Pennsylvania’s largest counties and ranked 30th nationwide. The remaining 18 large counties in Pennsylvania had wage increases ranging from 7.9 percent in Delaware to 2.7 percent in Northampton. (See table 1.) Nationally, the average weekly wage increased 6.6 percent over the year to $1,111 in the first quarter of 2017.

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-seven of these smaller counties had weekly wages below the national average. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

Seven of Pennsylvania’s 19 large counties had over-the-year wage increases greater than the national increase of 6.6 percent in the first quarter of 2017. Three of these counties had wage growth that ranked in the top 100 of the 346 large counties nationwide. Among the remaining 12 large counties in Pennsylvania, the smallest wage gain was in Northampton (2.7 percent) which ranked 338th, followed by Lackawanna (4.0 percent, ranked 315th).

Nationwide, 345 of the 346 large counties had increases in average weekly wages over the year. McLean, Ill., had the largest increase of 27.8 percent from the first quarter of 2016. Elkhart, Ind., had the second largest increase in average weekly wages (15.1 percent), followed by Midland, Texas (14.3 percent) and Benton, Ark., (14.2 percent). Peoria, Ill., had the only percentage decrease in average weekly wages (-1.1 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

The average weekly wage in one of Pennsylvania’s large counties, Montgomery, ranked 25th in the nation, while Chester and Philadelphia also ranked in the top 50 nationwide. In addition to these counties, Delaware, Allegheny, and Washington also had wages above the U.S. average of $1,111.

Four large counties in the commonwealth had average weekly wages that placed in the bottom fourth of the national ranking—Erie, Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Westmoreland. Wages in these counties were nearly 25 percent below the national average for the first quarter of 2017.

Average weekly wages in Pennsylvania’s smaller counties

Forty-seven of the 48 counties in Pennsylvania with employment below 75,000 had average weekly wages lower than the national average of $1,111. The exception was Montour County with wages of $1,234. Perry had the lowest weekly wage among the smaller counties, averaging $603 in the first quarter of 2017. (See table 2.)

When all 67 counties in Pennsylvania were considered, 60 had wages below the national average of $1,111. Seven reported wages below $700, 28 had wages from $701 to $800, 15 had wages from $801 to $900, 7 had wages from $901 to $1,000, and 10 had wages above $1,000. (See chart 1.) Four of the seven counties with wages above the national average of $1,111 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 2016 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 2017 version of the national news release. Tables and additional content from Employment and Wages Annual Averages 2016 are now available online at www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn16.htm. The 2017 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Online will be available in September 2018.


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 9.9 million employer reports cover 142.3 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 2017
AreaEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
March 2017 (thousands)Percent change, March 2016-17 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)Average weekly wageNational ranking by level (3)Percent change, first quarter 2016-17 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

142,309.21.6--$1,111 --6.6 -- 

Pennsylvania

5,712.30.8--1,078156.530

Allegheny, Pa.

685.00.82371,203637.2109

Berks, Pa.

169.40.12949382027.2109

Bucks, Pa.

259.51.81439811686.7148

Butler, Pa.

83.7-0.93379611827.0126

Chester, Pa.

246.41.12091,408316.2189

Cumberland, Pa.

131.30.92299601855.6233

Dauphin, Pa.

177.90.12941,0601235.8215

Delaware, Pa.

220.01.22011,220607.963

Erie, Pa.

119.6-1.03387993184.3302

Lackawanna, Pa.

96.4-0.13087783254.0315

Lancaster, Pa.

233.31.22018812586.5163

Lehigh, Pa.

184.70.72481,0631186.5163

Luzerne, Pa.

141.8-0.23148253037.492

Montgomery, Pa.

484.81.02181,449255.7228

Northampton, Pa.

113.03.1439172142.7338

Philadelphia, Pa.

667.12.21071,274495.8215

Washington, Pa.

84.30.03001,183679.130

Westmoreland, Pa.

131.1-0.63318412915.9210

York, Pa.

176.00.82379112246.2189

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 Pennsylvania, first quarter 2017
AreaEmployment March 2017Average weekly wage (1)

United States (2)

142,309,1851111

Pennsylvania

5,712,2541078

Adams

33,944763

Allegheny

685,0451203

Armstrong

16,084748

Beaver

50,061855

Bedford

15,145657

Berks

169,405938

Blair

57,807751

Bradford

22,705892

Bucks

259,544981

Butler

83,684961

Cambria

51,377718

Cameron

1,913765

Carbon

16,780669

Centre

68,170925

Chester

246,4001408

Clarion

13,239651

Clearfield

29,476734

Clinton

12,703805

Columbia

24,516753

Crawford

29,736753

Cumberland

131,266960

Dauphin

177,9151060

Delaware

219,9711220

Elk

14,832794

Erie

119,624799

Fayette

38,287718

Forest

1,948862

Franklin

57,329796

Fulton

4,841886

Greene

12,8291038

Huntingdon

12,329716

Indiana

29,883882

Jefferson

15,356737

Juniata

6,497667

Lackawanna

96,363778

Lancaster

233,335881

Lawrence

27,351744

Lebanon

48,787785

Lehigh

184,6681063

Luzerne

141,761825

Lycoming

50,471796

Mckean

14,895808

Mercer

46,180777

Mifflin

15,292721

Monroe

55,371853

Montgomery

484,8061449

Montour

15,7411234

Northampton

112,954917

Northumberland

27,112804

Perry

7,788603

Philadelphia

667,0901274

Pike

10,655632

Potter

5,201789

Schuylkill

48,682803

Snyder

16,391704

Somerset

23,498721

Sullivan

1,471656

Susquehanna

8,868758

Tioga

12,423765

Union

17,451830

Venango

17,733707

Warren

14,363768

Washington

84,3101183

Wayne

14,098722

Westmoreland

131,059841

Wyoming

9,528897

York

176,009911

Footnotes:

 

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, first quarter 2017
StateEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
March 2017 (thousands)Percent change, March 2016-17Average weekly wageNational ranking by levelPercent change, first quarter 2016-17National ranking by percent change

United States (2)

142,309.21.6$1,111--6.6--

Alabama

1,928.91.4893366.235

Alaska

312.8-1.81,061183.950

Arizona

2,743.02.4991218.14

Arkansas

1,199.90.7859458.53

California

16,831.42.31,29567.67

Colorado

2,573.22.31,136127.510

Connecticut

1,651.50.11,41744.049

Delaware

433.20.81,185910.71

District of Columbia

760.71.21,88517.016

Florida

8,532.62.8949277.213

Georgia

4,317.12.71,068176.137

Hawaii

653.60.9954256.822

Idaho

690.43.0775507.016

Illinois

5,842.00.51,19586.334

Indiana

2,985.81.2918327.67

Iowa

1,518.30.0899356.530

Kansas

1,368.00.4888386.725

Kentucky

1,864.11.1879416.918

Louisiana

1,901.3-0.5906335.543

Maine

586.71.0860447.213

Maryland

2,626.01.21,171105.842

Massachusetts

3,464.01.11,42837.76

Michigan

4,230.61.71,041206.822

Minnesota

2,806.42.11,149117.95

Mississippi

1,122.90.1750515.346

Missouri

2,767.01.4930315.938

Montana

451.51.4800496.530

Nebraska

960.70.4868426.433

Nevada

1,311.63.8932306.918

New Hampshire

643.21.21,070167.311

New Jersey

3,955.11.51,33355.047

New Mexico

803.30.2838465.938

New York

9,159.31.31,54125.938

North Carolina

4,287.01.8991216.918

North Dakota

405.7-1.0953265.047

Ohio

5,278.30.8976246.725

Oklahoma

1,563.9-1.0883395.938

Oregon

1,855.02.5984235.445

Pennsylvania

5,712.30.81,078156.530

Rhode Island

465.40.31,055197.213

South Carolina

2,017.92.2864437.311

South Dakota

413.40.7819486.235

Tennessee

2,906.21.8945286.725

Texas

11,924.51.71,124145.543

Utah

1,411.33.1905346.629

Vermont

305.60.2889376.725

Virginia

3,796.31.41,129136.918

Washington

3,225.92.61,21578.62

West Virginia

678.2-0.8837477.67

Wisconsin

2,803.71.1933296.822

Wyoming

262.4-2.3880403.351

Puerto Rico

887.7-0.9526(3)1.2(3)

Virgin Islands

38.70.0797(3)3.1(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: Friday, September 29, 2017