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News Release Information

20-1152-KAN
Monday, June 08, 2020

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Technical information:
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County Employment and Wages in Colorado – Fourth Quarter 2019

Employment rose in Colorado’s nine large counties from December 2018 to December 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are those with annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2018.) Acting Regional Commissioner Michael Hirniak noted that Adams County (5.1 percent) had the fastest employment growth among the nine largest counties in the state. (See table 1.)

Nationally, employment increased 1.2 percent over the year with 285 of the 355 largest U.S. counties reporting increases. Cleveland, OK, had the largest percentage increase in the country, up 5.8 percent over the year. Ector, TX, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment with a loss of 4.2 percent.

Among the nine large counties in Colorado, employment was highest in Denver County (535,300), followed by Arapahoe County (338,200) and El Paso County (286,800) in December 2019. Together, the nine largest Colorado counties accounted for 81.0 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 355 largest counties made up 73.7 percent of total U.S. employment.

All nine large Colorado counties reported average weekly wage gains from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019, with the fastest rate of increase in Douglas County, up 17.2 percent. Douglas County also had the highest average weekly wage among the state’s largest counties at $1,511. Nationally, the average weekly wage increased 3.5 percent from a year ago to $1,185 in the fourth quarter of 2019.

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 ($1,606) had the highest average weekly wage level and was above the national average of $1,185. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

The 17.2-percent annual average weekly wage gain in Douglas County ranked 3rd among the nation’s 355 largest counties in the fourth quarter of 2019. Boulder and Arapahoe Counties ranked in the top 100 of the nation’s large counties, 66th and 79th respectively. The remaining large counties were in the bottom half of the rankings.

Nationally, 341 of the 355 largest counties had over-the-year wage increases. Santa Cruz, CA, had the largest percentage wage increase (20.7 percent). The remaining 14 large counties had wage declines during the period. Linn, IA, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease (-7.1 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Weekly wages in 5 of the state’s 9 large counties were above the national average of $1,185 in the fourth quarter of 2019. Average weekly wages in Douglas County ($1,511) and Denver County ($1,458) ranked 20th and 24th, respectively, near the top of the national rankings. The average weekly wages in the lowest-paying large Colorado counties, Weld ($1,045, 194th) and El Paso ($1,043, 196th), ranked in the bottom half of the 355 largest U.S. counties.

Nationally, 93 large counties reported average weekly wages at or above the U.S. average in the fourth quarter of 2019. Santa Clara, CA, had the highest average weekly wage at $2,825. Average weekly wages were below the national average in 262 counties. At $701 a week, Cameron, TX, had the lowest average weekly wage.

Average weekly wages in Colorado’s smaller counties

Of the 55 smaller counties in Colorado–those with employment below 75,000–only one reported average weekly wages above the national average of $1,185: Broomfield County ($1,606). Among these smaller counties, Pitkin posted the second highest weekly wage, $1,149, followed by Rio Blanco ($1,106), La Plata ($1,030) and Garfield ($1,028). San Juan County reported the lowest average wage in the state at $548 per week, followed by Mineral County at $570 per week.

When all 64 counties in Colorado were considered, 10 reported average weekly wages of less than $700, 19 registered wages from $700 to $824, 17 had wages from $825 to $949, 8 had wages from $950 to $1,074, and 10 had average weekly wages of $1075 or more. (See chart 1.) The higher-paying counties were primarily located in and around the Denver metropolitan area. The lowest-paying counties, those with weekly wages under $700, were concentrated in the southern portion of the state.

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. The 2018 edition of this publication, which was published in September 2019, contains selected data produced by Business Employment Dynamics (BED) on job gains and losses, as well as selected data from the first quarter 2019 version of this news release. Tables and additional content from the 2018 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online are now available at www.bls.gov/cew/publications/employment-and-wages-annual-averages/2018/home.htm. The 2019 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2020.

The County Employment and Wages release for first quarter 2020 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, August 19, 2020.
The County Employment and Wages full data update for first quarter 2020 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, September 2, 2020.


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 sensory impaired individuals 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 9 largest counties in Colorado, fourth quarter 2019
AreaEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December 2019 (thousands)Percent change, December 2018-19 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)Average weekly wageNational ranking by level (3)Percent change, fourth quarter 2018-19 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

149,857.11.2--$1,185--3.5--

Colorado

2,772.62.2--1,22794.08

Adams

233.05.121,1211342.6234

Arapahoe

338.21.51141,354474.379

Boulder

191.83.0201,418334.566

Denver

535.32.3531,458243.0203

Douglas

133.52.8341,5112017.23

El Paso

286.82.2591,0431962.8222

Jefferson

245.01.51141,221780.7339

Larimer

166.82.0731,0941533.0203

Weld

114.42.3531,0451943.2181

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. 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, fourth quarter 2019
AreaEmployment December 2019Average Weekly Wage(1)

United States(2)

149,857,130$1,185

Colorado

2,772,6201,227

Adams

232,9611,121

Alamosa

8,287783

Arapahoe

338,2141,354

Archuleta

4,268729

Baca

1,113656

Bent

1,115759

Boulder

191,7761,418

Broomfield

40,6711,606

Chaffee

8,077845

Cheyenne

702903

Clear Creek

3,490933

Conejos

1,536671

Costilla

944648

Crowley

1,096874

Custer

792679

Delta

8,485734

Denver

535,2671,458

Dolores

568692

Douglas

133,5081,511

Eagle

36,1051,015

Elbert

3,803954

El Paso

286,8491,043

Fremont

13,539844

Garfield

25,9251,028

Gilpin

4,623861

Grand

8,114786

Gunnison

8,974824

Hinsdale

256677

Huerfano

1,719694

Jackson

530808

Jefferson

244,9531,221

Kiowa

507762

Kit Carson

2,892785

Lake

2,521848

La Plata

26,0521,030

Larimer

166,8321,094

Las Animas

4,968772

Lincoln

2,149813

Logan

7,954817

Mesa

63,394921

Mineral

666570

Moffat

4,7291,000

Montezuma

9,042744

Montrose

15,546823

Morgan

12,660970

Otero

6,029767

Ouray

1,837828

Park

2,502830

Phillips

1,721798

Pitkin

18,8801,149

Prowers

4,615693

Pueblo

63,134907

Rio Blanco

2,8521,106

Rio Grande

4,013819

Routt

16,462927

Saguache

1,616711

San Juan

300548

San Miguel

6,169899

Sedgwick

814758

Summit

25,038834

Teller

7,324847

Washington

1,177852

Weld

114,4201,045

Yuma

3,984829

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 2019
StateEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December 2019 (thousands)Percent change, December 2018-19Average weekly wageNational ranking by levelPercent change, fourth quarter 2018-19National ranking by percent change

United States (2)

149,857.11.2$1,185--3.5--

Alabama

2,007.91.0985362.639

Alaska

309.90.61,139163.227

Arizona

2,999.82.71,059234.17

Arkansas

1,232.90.5898503.227

California

17,836.31.51,45744.74

Colorado

2,772.62.21,22794.08

Connecticut

1,687.4-0.71,38353.811

Delaware

455.30.81,136172.639

District of Columbia

782.50.81,99212.542

Florida

9,085.52.01,044263.614

Georgia

4,576.11.71,090213.614

Hawaii

665.1-0.81,053243.517

Idaho

756.93.1918463.132

Illinois

6,043.50.21,221102.738

Indiana

3,106.00.6969383.034

Iowa

1,560.40.1984371.947

Kansas

1,410.70.6959403.517

Kentucky

1,928.30.8955413.227

Louisiana

1,927.7-0.5993342.542

Maine

620.20.7955415.32

Maryland

2,728.10.91,27183.517

Massachusetts

3,660.80.91,51123.811

Michigan

4,385.30.41,115183.422

Minnesota

2,912.80.41,177143.227

Mississippi

1,145.00.0818513.227

Missouri

2,846.20.91,010323.034

Montana

474.11.1918463.422

Nebraska

990.90.7969384.26

Nevada

1,435.52.71,030292.445

New Hampshire

671.30.81,192122.937

New Jersey

4,157.40.81,33272.542

New Mexico

844.01.5942444.08

New York

9,691.00.81,49933.713

North Carolina

4,546.91.91,036282.445

North Dakota

424.60.51,085222.639

Ohio

5,477.20.51,037273.132

Oklahoma

1,639.40.3945431.449

Oregon

1,969.31.61,100194.65

Pennsylvania

5,985.90.81,143153.614

Rhode Island

489.80.61,099201.150

South Carolina

2,144.81.2931454.08

South Dakota

430.70.6916483.517

Tennessee

3,085.41.61,047251.648

Texas

12,793.02.01,187133.422

Utah

1,547.82.51,022305.03

Vermont

314.0-0.4987353.517

Virginia

3,978.71.21,204113.422

Washington

3,457.72.21,37066.41

West Virginia

690.3-2.090449-1.451

Wisconsin

2,898.00.21,022303.326

Wyoming

276.31.41,007333.034

Puerto Rico

910.71.5575(3)-0.2(3)

Virgin Islands

39.210.81,065(3)13.5(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. Includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs.

 

Last Modified Date: Monday, June 08, 2020