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21-1688-PHI
Thursday, September 16, 2021

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County Employment and Wages in Pennsylvania – First Quarter 2021

Average weekly wages increased in the 19 large counties

Employment fell in the 19 largest counties in Pennsylvania from March 2020 to March 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are those with annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2020.) Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that Philadelphia County and Washington County had the largest over-the-year decreases in employment at 9.6 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

National employment decreased 4.5 percent over the year, with 324 of the 343 largest U.S. counties reporting declines. Calcasieu, LA, had the largest over-the-year decrease in employment with a loss of 14.9 percent. Utah, UT, experienced the largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment with a gain of 6.1 percent.

Among the 19 largest counties in Pennsylvania, employment was highest in Allegheny County (636,100) in March 2021. Within Allegheny County’s private industry, health care and social assistance accounted for the largest employment. Together, the 19 largest Pennsylvania counties accounted for 76.6 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 343 largest counties made up 72.3 percent of total U.S. employment.

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 48 counties in Pennsylvania with employment below 75,000. Wage levels in 47 of the 48 smaller counties were below the national average in the first quarter of 2021. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

All 19 large Pennsylvania counties reported average weekly wage gains from the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021. (See chart 2.) Three of these counties had rates of wage gains that were above the national rate of 5.6 percent. Washington County had the largest gain (+10.3 percent), followed by Chester County (+8.1 percent) and Delaware County (+6.0 percent).

Among the 343 largest counties in the United States, 312 had over-the-year wage increases. Nationally, across most industries, increases in average weekly wages reflect 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. San Francisco, CA, had the largest percentage wage increase (+33.9 percent). Clayton, GA, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease (-14.2 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Weekly wages in the 6 of the 19 largest counties in Pennsylvania were above the national average of $1,289 in the first quarter of 2021. Average weekly wages in three of these counties ranked among the top 50 nationwide: Montgomery ($1,683, 23rd), Chester ($1,651, 25th), and Washington ($1,461, 48th).

Among the largest U.S. counties, 84 reported average weekly wages above the U.S. average in the first quarter of 2021. New York, NY, had the highest average weekly wage at $3,967. Average weekly wages were below the national average in the remaining 259 counties. At $685, Cameron, TX, had the lowest average weekly wage.

Average weekly wages in Pennsylvania’s smaller counties

Among the 48 smaller counties in Pennsylvania—those with employment below 75,000—Montour ($1,386) reported an average weekly wage above the national average of $1,289. Perry County ($657) reported the lowest average weekly wage in the state.

When all 67 counties in Pennsylvania were considered, 27 reported average weekly wages of less than $850, 18 registered wages from $850 to $949, 7 had wages from $950 to $1,049, and 15 had average weekly wages of $1,050 or higher. (See chart 3.)

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 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. This publication is typically published in September of the following year of the reference period or shortly after the QCEW first quarter full data update. The Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online is available at www.bls.gov/cew/publications/employment-and-wages-annual-averages/.

The County Employment and Wages release for second quarter 2021 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, November 17, 2021. The County Employment and Wages full data update for second quarter 2021 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.


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 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 individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

Table 1. Covered employment and wages in the United States and the 19 largest counties in Pennsylvania, first quarter 2021
Area Establishments,
first quarter 2021
(thousands)
Employment Average weekly wage (1)
March 2021
(thousands)
Percent change,
March 2020–21 (2)
National ranking
by percent change (3)
First quarter
2021
National ranking
by level (3)
Percent change,
first quarter 2020–21 (2)
National ranking
by percent change (3)

United States (4)

10,755.4 140,455.8 -4.5 -- $1,289 -- 5.6 --

Pennsylvania

369.7 5,531.3 -5.4 -- 1,226 16 4.3 23

Allegheny

36.4 636.1 -6.7 269 1,368 64 4.7 141

Berks

8.9 161.7 -6.1 243 1,049 205 2.5 250

Bucks

20.6 247.2 -5.3 198 1,091 173 4.1 170

Butler

5.2 81.0 -6.5 260 1,056 199 0.9 300

Chester

16.0 234.8 -4.8 168 1,651 25 8.1 36

Cumberland

6.7 131.2 -3.8 117 1,066 192 1.8 279

Dauphin

7.5 173.9 -4.9 180 1,190 124 3.6 198

Delaware

14.3 208.7 -6.2 245 1,317 77 6.0 86

Erie

6.9 111.9 -7.1 283 870 324 2.2 263

Lackawanna

5.6 90.2 -5.6 216 887 320 4.5 152

Lancaster

14.0 234.4 -4.4 151 974 260 3.5 208

Lehigh

8.9 186.4 -3.7 111 1,128 160 0.4 309

Luzerne

7.5 134.4 -7.4 293 933 300 5.5 104

Montgomery

28.5 481.7 -4.8 168 1,683 23 5.1 120

Northampton

6.9 113.3 -5.2 193 1,000 246 2.7 244

Philadelphia

35.3 635.9 -9.6 325 1,411 58 1.4 294

Washington

5.6 80.0 -7.9 307 1,461 48 10.3 13

Westmoreland

9.2 123.5 -6.0 236 927 303 1.8 279

York

9.2 170.7 -4.3 145 1,006 240 4.1 170

Footnotes:
(1) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(2) Percent changes were computed from 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 2021
Area Employment March 2021 Average Weekly Wage(1)

United States(2)

140,455,819 $1,289

Pennsylvania

5,531,286 1,226

Adams

33,053 858

Allegheny

636,104 1,368

Armstrong

15,339 828

Beaver

52,272 1,112

Bedford

15,005 725

Berks

161,714 1,049

Blair

55,333 845

Bradford

21,165 985

Bucks

247,180 1,091

Butler

81,041 1,056

Cambria

46,320 782

Cameron

1,711 759

Carbon

14,933 723

Centre

62,514 1,081

Chester

234,778 1,651

Clarion

12,152 729

Clearfield

28,504 814

Clinton

12,138 845

Columbia

23,284 801

Crawford

27,663 800

Cumberland

131,175 1,066

Dauphin

173,876 1,190

Delaware

208,693 1,317

Elk

13,128 850

Erie

111,928 870

Fayette

36,075 813

Forest

1,825 976

Franklin

57,077 859

Fulton

4,700 838

Greene

11,593 1,121

Huntingdon

11,613 823

Indiana

27,140 938

Jefferson

14,378 781

Juniata

6,547 696

Lackawanna

90,206 887

Lancaster

234,438 974

Lawrence

25,812 826

Lebanon

49,382 874

Lehigh

186,435 1,128

Luzerne

134,415 933

Lycoming

47,707 893

Mckean

13,479 819

Mercer

41,618 875

Mifflin

15,192 800

Monroe

52,643 926

Montgomery

481,704 1,683

Montour

15,868 1,386

Northampton

113,347 1,000

Northumberland

25,223 853

Perry

7,650 657

Philadelphia

635,869 1,411

Pike

10,388 704

Potter

4,924 858

Schuylkill

46,603 854

Snyder

14,953 751

Somerset

22,833 809

Sullivan

1,261 716

Susquehanna

8,599 871

Tioga

11,891 840

Union

16,559 919

Venango

16,476 789

Warren

13,171 819

Washington

80,048 1,461

Wayne

13,655 851

Westmoreland

123,475 927

Wyoming

8,680 1,038

York

170,684 1,006

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 2021
State Establishments,
first quarter 2021
(thousands)
Employment Average weekly wage (1)
March 2021
(thousands)
Percent change,
March 2020–21
First quarter
2021
National ranking
by level
Percent change,
first quarter 2020–21
National ranking
by percent change

United States (2)

10,755.4 140,455.8 -4.5 $1,289 -- 5.6 --

Alabama

135.9 1,924.3 -3.0 996 37 2.5 40

Alaska

23.3 295.0 -5.5 1,125 23 -0.6 48

Arizona

176.5 2,894.2 -2.3 1,150 21 4.8 17

Arkansas

95.3 1,194.2 -2.0 957 43 3.7 30

California

1,651.4 16,507.7 -5.9 1,623 4 11.3 1

Colorado

224.7 2,634.7 -3.5 1,335 10 4.1 25

Connecticut

128.3 1,550.5 -5.4 1,575 5 4.7 19

Delaware

35.2 425.6 -4.1 1,264 13 1.6 44

District of Columbia

44.0 708.1 -9.0 2,166 1 8.7 4

Florida

780.8 8,701.9 -3.1 1,104 24 5.1 13

Georgia

329.2 4,393.8 -2.6 1,198 17 3.6 33

Hawaii

48.0 564.4 -14.1 1,091 26 5.7 9

Idaho

74.2 768.6 1.9 906 50 4.9 15

Illinois

390.0 5,559.6 -5.5 1,387 8 6.7 7

Indiana

176.2 2,956.4 -2.5 1,026 34 3.3 37

Iowa

105.1 1,473.6 -3.3 1,004 35 2.6 39

Kansas

90.4 1,335.4 -3.3 986 39 1.9 43

Kentucky

130.7 1,835.2 -2.5 965 41 2.3 42

Louisiana

141.5 1,787.6 -5.9 977 40 1.0 46

Maine

56.2 585.0 -2.8 1,000 36 4.7 19

Maryland

174.3 2,522.1 -5.0 1,386 9 8.5 5

Massachusetts

271.2 3,334.9 -6.6 1,732 3 7.8 6

Michigan

267.5 4,026.6 -5.9 1,155 20 4.8 17

Minnesota

189.7 2,695.4 -5.1 1,290 11 4.6 22

Mississippi

75.3 1,098.4 -2.5 811 51 1.1 45

Missouri

221.8 2,705.5 -3.0 1,055 30 3.7 30

Montana

53.2 465.2 0.1 915 48 5.4 10

Nebraska

73.4 944.7 -2.8 990 38 3.6 33

Nevada

92.8 1,291.5 -8.4 1,080 27 4.7 19

New Hampshire

56.8 631.8 -3.9 1,258 15 5.4 10

New Jersey

297.0 3,818.6 -5.5 1,533 7 5.3 12

New Mexico

65.2 774.5 -7.4 958 42 3.8 28

New York

664.6 8,587.8 -8.7 1,869 2 10.4 2

North Carolina

302.7 4,423.2 -1.7 1,137 22 4.1 25

North Dakota

32.3 388.7 -6.1 1,037 32 -0.9 51

Ohio

310.1 5,136.8 -3.9 1,098 25 3.3 37

Oklahoma

114.4 1,549.7 -3.7 939 46 -0.8 50

Oregon

169.4 1,841.9 -5.2 1,172 18 6.4 8

Pennsylvania

369.7 5,531.3 -5.4 1,226 16 4.3 23

Rhode Island

41.2 447.8 -5.6 1,171 19 3.4 35

South Carolina

150.1 2,056.2 -2.6 957 43 3.8 28

South Dakota

35.6 417.1 -0.9 932 47 3.4 35

Tennessee

180.2 2,968.7 -2.1 1,077 28 5.0 14

Texas

750.1 12,216.7 -3.4 1,261 14 2.4 41

Utah

117.3 1,548.8 1.5 1,065 29 3.7 30

Vermont

27.0 283.7 -6.9 1,028 33 4.9 15

Virginia

291.3 3,765.8 -3.9 1,285 12 4.2 24

Washington

261.2 3,252.0 -5.1 1,540 6 9.1 3

West Virginia

52.3 648.6 -3.8 911 49 0.8 47

Wisconsin

183.1 2,730.0 -3.7 1,047 31 3.9 27

Wyoming

27.8 255.9 -4.6 953 45 -0.6 48

Puerto Rico

47.1 856.5 -3.1 562 (3) 2.0 (3)

Virgin Islands

3.6 34.7 -14.0 961 (3) -8.0 (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: Thursday, September 16, 2021