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News Release Information

17-864-KAN
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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Technical information:
Media contact:
  • (816) 285-7000

County Employment and Wages in Colorado – Fourth Quarter 2016

Employment rose in all nine large counties in Colorado from December 2015 to December 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today. (Large counties are defined as those with employment of 75,000 or more as measured by 2015 annual average employment.) Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Stanley W. Suchman noted that 7 of the 9 counties reported employment growth exceeding the national average of 1.2 percent. Adams County had the largest increase at 3.6 percent. Employment in Weld County rose the least among the large counties with an increase of 0.2 percent from December 2015 to December 2016.

Nationally, employment increased in 280 of the 344 largest U.S. counties from December 2015 to December 2016. Williamson, Tenn., had the largest percentage increase with a gain of 5.1 percent over the year. Lafayette, La, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment among the largest counties in the U.S. with a loss of 5.1 percent.

Among the nine largest counties in Colorado, employment was highest in Denver (501,700) in December 2016. Four other counties—Adams, Arapahoe, El Paso, and Jefferson—had employment levels exceeding 200,000. Together, the nine large counties accounted for 80.5 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 344 largest counties made up 72.8 percent of total U.S. employment.

Average weekly wages declined in all nine large counties in Colorado from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the fourth quarter of 2016. Wages in Douglas County had the largest rate of decline (-6.8 percent). Nationally, average weekly wages decreased 1.5 percent. Average weekly wages in five of the large counties exceeded the national average of $1,067. Denver had the highest average weekly wage among the state’s largest counties at $1,287, followed by Boulder ($1,237), Arapahoe ($1,227), Douglas ($1,204), and Jefferson ($1,072). (See table 1.)

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 55 counties in Colorado with employment below 75,000. Of these smaller counties, Broomfield ($1,440) and Pitkin ($1,096) had average weekly wages above the national average. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

All nine large counties in Colorado had wage declines from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the fourth quarter of 2016, with four counties posting declines greater than the U.S. average decrease of 1.5 percent. (See table 1.) Douglas County had the largest wage decline (-6.8 percent), placing 341st in the national ranking. Weld (-2.9 percent, 268th), Boulder (-2.4 percent, 237th), and Arapahoe (-1.8 percent, 183rd) also had wage losses that exceeded the national average. Wages in the remaining five large counties declined less than the national average, with Denver (-0.4 percent, 70th) and Larimer (-0.6 percent, 84th) placing in the top quartile of the national ranking.

Among the 344 largest counties in the U.S., 290 had over-the-year declines in average weekly wages in the fourth quarter of 2016. McLean, Ill., had the largest percentage decline in average weekly wages with a loss of 9.2 percent. Forty-eight of the 344 largest counties experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Clayton, Ga., ranked first in average weekly wage growth with an increase of 11.3 percent.

Large county average weekly wages

Five of the state’s large counties had average weekly wages that were above the national average of $1,067. Denver ($1,287) and Boulder ($1,237) ranked 35th and 43rd, respectively, followed by the counties of Arapahoe ($1,227, 46th) and Douglas ($1,204, 52nd). Jefferson’s average weekly wage was close to the national average ($1,072, 96th). The average weekly wages in Colorado’s four other large counties ranged from $900 to $1,022.

Nationally, weekly wages were higher than the U.S. average of $1,067 in 100 of the 344 largest counties. Santa Clara, Calif., held the top position among the highest-paid large counties with an average weekly wage of $2,365, followed by New York, N.Y. ($2,212), and San Mateo, Calif. ($2,098). Among the 243 large counties with an average weekly wage below the U.S. average in the fourth quarter of 2016, Cameron, Texas ($640), reported the lowest wage.

Average weekly wages in Colorado’s smaller counties

Of the 55 counties in Colorado with employment below 75,000, only Broomfield ($1,440) and Pitkin ($1,096) had average weekly wages above the national average. San Juan County had the lowest weekly wage in the state with an average of $504 in the fourth quarter of 2016. (See table 2.)

When all 64 counties in Colorado were considered, six reported average weekly wages of $599 or less, 16 reported wages from $600 to $699, 18 had wages from $700 to $799, nine had wages from $800 to $899, and 15 had wages of $900 or higher. Nine of the high-wage counties were concentrated in the corridor between Colorado Springs and the Wyoming border that includes metropolitan areas such as Denver and Greeley. (See chart 1.) 

Additional statistics and other information

Quarterly 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 2015 edition of this publication contains selected data produced by Business Employment Dynamics (BED) on job gains and losses, as well as selected data from the first quarter 2016 version of the national news release. Tables and additional content from the 2015 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online are now available at www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn15.htm. The 2016 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2017.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

The County Employment and Wages release for first quarter 2017 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.

Upcoming Industry Changes to QCEW Data

Beginning with the release of first quarter 2017 data, the program will switch to the 2017 version of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) as the basis for the assignment and tabulation of economic data by industry. For more information on the change, please see the Federal Register notice at www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/federal_register_notices/notices/fr08au16.pdf.


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 143.7 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.

Table 1. Covered employment and wages in the United States and the 9 largest counties in Colorado, fourth quarter 2016
AreaEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December 2016 (thousands)Percent change, December 2015-16 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)Average weekly wageNational ranking by level (3)Percent change, fourth quarter 2015-16 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

143,749.91.2--$1,067---1.5--

Colorado

2,588.62.0--1,08612-1.524

Adams, Colo.

202.03.6141,022130-1.3144

Arapahoe, Colo.

324.61.61391,22746-1.8183

Boulder, Colo.

179.93.0391,23743-2.4237

Denver, Colo.

501.72.8501,28735-0.470

Douglas, Colo.

118.91.81141,20452-6.8341

El Paso, Colo.

268.02.758943194-1.4149

Jefferson, Colo.

234.40.72231,07296-0.9110

Larimer, Colo.

154.02.571980167-0.684

Weld, Colo.

100.40.2264900241-2.9268

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 Colorado, 4th quarter 2016
AreaEmployment December 2016Average Weekly Wage(1)

United States(2)

143,749,910$1,067

Colorado

2,588,5511,086

Adams

201,9851,022

Alamosa

8,028714

Arapahoe

324,5671,227

Archuleta

4,065654

Baca

1,096563

Bent

1,215667

Boulder

179,8961,237

Broomfield

37,2361,440

Chaffee

7,487736

Cheyenne

691803

Clear Creek

3,169855

Conejos

1,416587

Costilla

859542

Crowley

1,100770

Custer

851699

Delta

8,297646

Denver

501,7071,287

Dolores

516646

Douglas

118,8761,204

Eagle

34,331890

Elbert

3,444814

El Paso

268,044943

Fremont

13,371753

Garfield

25,325925

Gilpin

4,885759

Grand

7,938688

Gunnison

8,291687

Hinsdale

258629

Huerfano

1,689580

Jackson

530683

Jefferson

234,4371,072

Kiowa

476669

Kit Carson

2,851701

Lake

2,331684

La Plata

26,581935

Larimer

154,020980

Las Animas

4,729724

Lincoln

2,165713

Logan

8,154730

Mesa

59,716816

Mineral

623590

Moffat

4,655921

Montezuma

8,823680

Montrose

14,525752

Morgan

12,049814

Otero

5,966668

Ouray

1,594712

Park

2,381755

Phillips

1,651719

Pitkin

18,3901,096

Prowers

4,350636

Pueblo

60,152800

Rio Blanco

2,667974

Rio Grande

3,827769

Routt

15,883883

Saguache

1,478628

San Juan

282504

San Miguel

5,846818

Sedgwick

795663

Summit

23,836781

Teller

7,087735

Washington

1,210721

Weld

100,436900

Yuma

3,939733

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, fourth quarter 2016
StateEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December 2016 (thousands)Percent change, December 2015-16Average weekly wageNational ranking by levelPercent change, fourth quarter 2015-16National ranking by percent change

United States (2)

143,749.91.21067---1.5--

Alabama

1,932.60.790135-1.321

Alaska

310.0-1.9103817-5.251

Arizona

2,760.12.194525-2.234

Arkansas

1,205.40.482747-1.422

California

16,923.31.912715-0.34

Colorado

2,588.62.0108612-1.524

Connecticut

1,685.50.012894-3.446

Delaware

441.2-0.1105515-2.944

District of Columbia

760.90.5176310.62

Florida

8,538.92.794227-1.828

Georgia

4,349.32.499320-0.914

Hawaii

658.30.795424-0.34

Idaho

691.63.280050-0.48

Illinois

5,947.60.411229-231

Indiana

3,021.70.988338-0.914

Iowa

1,542.00.191133-116

Kansas

1,384.50.187739-2.234

Kentucky

1,894.20.687441-1.422

Louisiana

1,907.4-1.691432-2.944

Maine

602.60.885543-2.133

Maryland

2,666.71.011697-0.48

Massachusetts

3,530.41.313522-2.439

Michigan

4,283.01.5102619-1.625

Minnesota

2,839.71.2106214-1.118

Mississippi

1,134.00.075651-1.828

Missouri

2,783.20.991831-1.727

Montana

456.50.7822480.53

Nebraska

972.40.087640-0.510

Nevada

1,307.82.792429-1.220

New Hampshire

656.91.3109210-4.148

New Jersey

4,042.11.412396-1.930

New Mexico

811.40.084445-2.541

New York

9,332.51.213423-2.336

North Carolina

4,326.31.893228-0.713

North Dakota

414.4-3.297821-4.249

Ohio

5,365.60.794326-2.336

Oklahoma

1,587.7-1.286442-3.547

Oregon

1,860.72.497022-116

Pennsylvania

5,799.80.7103916-2.336

Rhode Island

478.30.0102718-1.625

South Carolina

2,024.31.885543-0.612

South Dakota

419.90.582846-0.510

Tennessee

2,947.51.897022-1.118

Texas

11,974.71.2107213-2.541

Utah

1,415.12.991034-0.34

Vermont

312.60.189736-2.439

Virginia

3,831.60.6109111-0.34

Washington

3,227.92.8115081.71

West Virginia

693.1-1.680949-2.541

Wisconsin

2,842.40.592429-231

Wyoming

265.8-3.989437-4.750

Puerto Rico

928.2-0.3555(3)-1.9(3)

Virgin Islands

38.50.2769(3)-1.8(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.

Chart 1. Average weekly wages by county in Colorado, fourth quarter 2016

 

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2017