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News Release Information

21-1689-PHI
Thursday, September 16, 2021

Contacts Technical information: Media contact:

County Employment and Wages in Virginia – First Quarter 2021

Average weekly wages increased in all 12 largest counties

Employment fell in the 12 largest counties and county equivalents in Virginia 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 Arlington County and Alexandra City had the largest over-the-year decreases in employment at 8.3 percent and 7.2 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 12 largest counties in Virginia, employment was highest in Fairfax County (594,500) in March 2021. Within Fairfax County’s private industry, professional and technical services accounted for the largest employment. Together, the 12 largest Virginia counties accounted for 55.8 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 121 counties in Virginia with employment below 75,000. Wage levels in 114 of the 121 smaller counties were below the national average in the first quarter of 2021. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

All 12 large Virginia 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. Richmond City had the largest gain (+7.6 percent), followed by Chesapeake City (+6.6 percent) and Virginia Beach City (+5.7 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 5 of the 12 largest counties in Virginia were above the national average of $1,289 in the first quarter of 2021. Average weekly wages in four of these counties ranked among the top 50 nationwide: Arlington ($2,077, 12th), Fairfax ($1,981, 13th), Alexandria City ($1,575, 36th), and Richmond City ($1,460, 49th).

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 a week, Cameron, TX, had the lowest average weekly wage.

Average weekly wages in Virginia’s smaller counties

Among the 121 smaller counties in Virginia—those with employment below 75,000—7 counties reported an average weekly wage above the national average of $1,289. Goochland County ($2,518) reported the highest among the small counties, and the highest average weekly wage in the state. Grayson County ($585) reported the lowest average weekly wage in the state.

When all 133 counties in Virginia were considered, 44 reported average weekly wages of less than $750, 29 had wages from $750 to $849, 22 had wages from $850 to $949, and 38 had average weekly wages of $950 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 12 largest counties in Virginia, 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 --

Virginia

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

Alexandria City

6.3 82.3 -7.2 287 1,575 36 4.8 136

Arlington

9.4 170.2 -8.3 314 2,077 12 3.0 232

Chesapeake City

6.4 99.6 -4.8 168 951 281 6.6 70

Chesterfield

9.6 131.8 -3.8 117 992 251 2.1 267

Fairfax

37.6 594.5 -3.8 117 1,981 13 3.1 228

Henrico

12.0 181.0 -5.2 193 1,221 108 3.7 191

Loudoun

13.3 166.8 -5.3 198 1,419 56 5.1 120

Newport News City

4.1 100.5 -3.9 125 1,080 179 1.8 279

Norfolk City

6.1 131.9 -5.9 228 1,177 130 5.5 104

Prince William

9.8 126.5 -4.0 129 1,025 225 5.2 117

Richmond City

8.2 147.0 -6.8 274 1,460 49 7.6 46

Virginia Beach City

12.7 167.6 -4.5 155 914 307 5.7 98

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 Virginia, first quarter 2021
Area Employment March 2021 Average Weekly Wage(1)

United States(2)

140,455,819 $1,289

Virginia

3,765,848 1,285

Accomack

11,762 833

Albemarle

55,461 1,110

Alleghany

3,469 709

Amelia

2,500 729

Amherst

7,573 738

Appomattox

3,267 633

Arlington

170,181 2,077

Augusta

27,027 928

Bath

1,809 854

Bedford

17,747 765

Bland

1,834 873

Botetourt

10,579 849

Brunswick

3,114 719

Buchanan

5,497 900

Buckingham

2,906 758

Campbell

17,020 1,027

Caroline

5,499 808

Carroll

5,988 624

Charles City

1,546 884

Charlotte

2,750 684

Chesterfield

131,761 992

Clarke

3,565 893

Craig

717 774

Culpeper

15,560 865

Cumberland

1,233 673

Dickenson

3,364 770

Dinwiddie

8,524 1,002

Essex

3,454 716

Fairfax County

594,453 1,981

Fauquier

21,458 1,060

Floyd

3,440 616

Fluvanna

4,301 830

Franklin

14,866 685

Frederick

33,661 1,022

Giles

4,819 873

Gloucester

9,259 735

Goochland

18,647 2,518

Grayson

3,187 585

Greene

3,697 701

Greensville

4,219 941

Halifax

11,364 771

Hanover

51,155 919

Henrico

180,988 1,221

Henry

15,369 689

Highland

439 636

Isle of Wight

11,004 1,113

James City

26,246 869

King and Queen

1,081 778

King George

12,655 1,567

King William

3,758 878

Lancaster

4,337 762

Lee

3,960 689

Loudoun

166,780 1,419

Louisa

9,819 1,031

Lunenburg

2,209 1,885

Madison

3,044 747

Mathews

1,486 598

Mecklenburg

10,832 743

Middlesex

3,104 707

Montgomery

41,110 961

Nelson

3,707 691

New Kent

4,950 770

Northampton

3,941 664

Northumberland

2,266 873

Nottoway

5,439 779

Orange

9,531 789

Page

5,067 691

Patrick

4,046 599

Pittsylvania

12,029 749

Powhatan

7,442 816

Prince Edward

8,658 767

Prince George

14,508 1,049

Prince William

126,501 1,025

Pulaski

13,556 821

Rappahannock

1,411 774

Richmond County

2,685 766

Roanoke County

37,673 863

Rockbridge

5,763 660

Rockingham

32,863 906

Russell

6,407 792

Scott

4,585 693

Shenandoah

13,449 843

Smyth

11,510 711

Southampton

3,410 742

Spotsylvania

34,906 861

Stafford

45,463 1,179

Surry

1,914 1,715

Sussex

3,171 842

Tazewell

13,681 690

Warren

12,893 812

Washington

18,345 742

Westmoreland

3,133 664

Wise

10,699 715

Wythe

10,826 740

York

19,344 782

Alexandria City

82,318 1,575

Bristol City

8,969 717

Buena Vista City

1,919 716

Charlottesville City

36,373 1,224

Chesapeake City

99,570 951

Colonial Heights City

9,669 668

Covington City

3,689 993

Danville City

23,407 755

Emporia City

3,206 610

Fairfax City

18,344 1,310

Falls Church City

11,146 1,422

Franklin City

4,004 620

Fredericksburg City

22,601 977

Galax City

5,401 628

Hampton City

49,576 1,025

Harrisonburg City

29,273 808

Hopewell City

7,326 1,085

Lexington City

4,496 893

Lynchburg City

48,753 926

Manassas City

22,798 1,369

Manassas Park City

3,704 905

Martinsville City

8,793 694

Newport News City

100,460 1,080

Norfolk City

131,939 1,177

Norton City

3,060 790

Petersburg City

11,698 784

Poquoson City

1,714 647

Portsmouth City

43,091 1,077

Radford City

5,670 932

Richmond City

146,991 1,460

Roanoke City

61,996 979

Salem City

18,540 1,000

Staunton City

10,782 747

Suffolk City

32,520 1,155

Virginia Beach City

167,565 914

Waynesboro City

8,920 770

Williamsburg City

10,750 891

Winchester City

24,633 970

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