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News Release Information

21-1005-KAN
Wednesday, June 16, 2021

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County Employment and Wages in Colorado – Fourth Quarter 2020

Employment fell in Colorado’s nine large counties from December 2019 to December 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are those with annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2019.) Regional Commissioner Michael Hirniak noted that Denver County (-9.8 percent) had the largest over-the-year employment loss among the nine largest counties in the state. (See chart 1 and table 1.)


National employment decreased 6.1 percent over the year, with 352 of the 357 largest U.S. counties reporting declines. Maui + Kalawao, HI, had the largest over-the-year decrease in employment with a loss of 22.8 percent. Utah, UT, experienced the largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment with a gain of 3.8 percent.

Among the nine largest counties in Colorado, employment was highest in Denver County (485,100), followed by Arapahoe County (321,500) and El Paso County (276,400) in December 2020. Together, the nine largest Colorado counties accounted for 80.8 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 357 largest counties made up 73.1 percent of total U.S. employment.

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 County ($1,918) had the highest average weekly wage level and was above the national average of $1,339. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

All nine large counties in Colorado reported average weekly wage gains from the fourth quarter 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020. (See chart 2.) Four counties had rates of wage gains that were above the national rate of 13.0 percent. Boulder County has the largest gain (+17.5 percent), followed by Denver County (+15.3 percent), El Paso County (+13.5 percent), and Arapahoe County (+13.2 percent). Over-the-year wage gains among Colorado’s other five large counties ranged from 12.8 percent to 0.8 percent.


Among the 357 largest counties in the United States, 356 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 results in higher average weekly wages for the industry and the nation. San Francisco, CA, had the largest percentage wage increase (+44.3 percent). Ector, TX, had the only over-the-year percentage decrease (-7.5 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Weekly wages in 4 of the state’s 9 large counties were above the national average of $1,339 in the fourth quarter of 2020. Average weekly wages in Denver County ($1,683) and Boulder County ($1,669) ranked 20th and 23rd, respectively, near the top of the national ranking. The average weekly wages in the lowest-paying large Colorado counties, Weld ($1,106, 246th) and El Paso ($1,186, 185th), ranked in the bottom half of the 357 largest U.S. counties.

Among the largest U.S. counties, 89 reported average weekly wages above the U.S. average in the fourth quarter of 2020. Santa Clara, CA, had the highest average weekly wage at $3,690. Average weekly wages were below the national average in the remaining 268 counties. At $760 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 75,000–3 reported average weekly wages above the national average of $1,339: Broomfield ($1,918), Dolores ($1,669), and Gilpin ($1,491). San Juan County reported the lowest average wage in the state at $637 per week, followed by Costilla County at $680 per week.

When all 64 counties in Colorado were considered, 9 reported average weekly wages of less than $800, 28 registered wages from $800 to $949, 10 had wages from $950 to $1,099, 8 had wages from $1,100 to $1,249, and 9 had average weekly wages of $1,250 or more. (See chart 3.) The higher-paying counties were primarily located in and around the Denver metropolitan area. The lowest-paying counties, those with weekly wages under $800, 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 2019 edition of this publication was published in September 2020. Tables and additional content from the 2019 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online are available at www.bls.gov/cew/publications/employment-and-wages-annual-averages/2019/home.htm. The 2020 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2021.

The County Employment and Wages release for first quarter 2021 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, August 18, 2021.
The County Employment and Wages full data update for first quarter 2021 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, September 1, 2021.

QCEW Imputation Issue Caused by Pandemic-Related Challenges

In the spring of 2020, BLS modified its imputation process for QCEW to be more responsive to current economic conditions. While continuing work to improve this process, BLS made an unintended data processing error. This error affected data for the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2020. BLS has analyzed this issue and has determined that the impact on QCEW employment was negligible at the statewide level. In smaller areas and industries, revisions may be larger than usual. Wage data were not affected. Following the usual QCEW practice, these data will be revised and corrected with the full data update on September 1, 2021.

For more information on QCEW imputation methodology, see www.bls.gov/cew/additional-resources/imputation-methodology.htm.


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 nine largest counties in Colorado, fourth quarter 2020
AreaEstablishments,
fourth quarter 2020
(thousands)
EmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December 2020
(thousands)
Percent change,
December 2019–20 (2)
National ranking
by percent change (3)
Fourth quarter
2020
National ranking
by level (3)
Percent change,
fourth quarter 2019–20 (2)
National ranking
by percent change (3)

United States (4)

10,675.8140,881.3-6.1--$1,339--13.0--

Colorado

219.62,613.7-5.7--1,3781012.325

Adams

12.2226.6-2.3351,2171578.3327

Arapahoe

23.6321.5-4.61071,5304613.2130

Boulder

16.7178.9-6.31911,6692317.515

Denver

36.6485.1-9.83261,6832015.347

Douglas

13.4130.6-2.4371,512480.8355

El Paso

21.8276.4-4.0831,18618513.5112

Jefferson

21.8232.2-5.31421,3767712.8153

Larimer

13.3156.3-6.21861,23014912.8153

Weld

8.2104.8-8.72901,1062465.8347

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 Colorado, fourth quarter 2020
AreaEmployment December 2020Average Weekly Wage(1)

United States(2)

140,881,253$1,339

Colorado

2,613,6651,378

Adams

226,6321,217

Alamosa

7,930870

Arapahoe

321,4641,530

Archuleta

4,238821

Baca

1,112741

Bent

1,065819

Boulder

178,8951,669

Broomfield

38,9231,918

Chaffee

7,999889

Cheyenne

729990

Clear Creek

2,915967

Conejos

1,517714

Costilla

896680

Crowley

1,106938

Custer

844781

Delta

8,258837

Denver

485,0801,683

Dolores

5671,669

Douglas

130,5951,512

Eagle

33,4861,151

Elbert

3,762990

El Paso

276,4341,186

Fremont

13,669933

Garfield

24,7161,106

Gilpin

3,4221,491

Grand

7,247906

Gunnison

8,835896

Hinsdale

238687

Huerfano

1,770800

Jackson

556854

Jefferson

232,1741,376

Kiowa

513878

Kit Carson

2,942851

Lake

2,367923

La Plata

23,5041,134

Larimer

156,3381,230

Las Animas

4,738849

Lincoln

2,170846

Logan

7,798879

Mesa

60,911996

Mineral

571724

Moffat

4,4931,079

Montezuma

8,803824

Montrose

15,100902

Morgan

12,0461,056

Otero

5,911815

Ouray

1,916933

Park

2,493904

Phillips

1,602894

Pitkin

16,7231,338

Prowers

4,421758

Pueblo

59,914998

Rio Blanco

2,6821,137

Rio Grande

3,877898

Routt

14,8471,062

Saguache

1,489767

San Juan

305637

San Miguel

5,4501,054

Sedgwick

784848

Summit

22,349996

Teller

6,907914

Washington

1,175883

Weld

104,7751,106

Yuma

3,952892

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 2020
StateEstablishments,
fourth quarter 2020
(thousands)
EmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December 2020
(thousands)
Percent change,
December 2019–20
Fourth quarter
2020
National ranking
by level
Percent change,
fourth quarter 2019–20
National ranking
by percent change

United States (2)

10,675.8140,881.3-6.1$1,339--13.0--

Alabama

134.61,951.2-2.91,0963511.436

Alaska

23.1290.1-6.41,2601710.644

Arizona

173.92,908.7-3.31,2142214.69

Arkansas

94.61,194.8-3.29994911.436

California

1,660.216,380.1-8.31,724318.51

Colorado

219.62,613.7-5.71,3781012.325

Connecticut

126.81,578.4-6.51,551612.227

Delaware

35.1432.9-5.21,2621611.338

District of Columbia

43.8713.0-8.92,293115.26

Florida

765.48,642.8-5.01,1802413.117

Georgia

319.74,405.9-4.01,2082310.942

Hawaii

47.3561.1-16.11,2192116.04

Idaho

71.8763.50.81,0344712.821

Illinois

386.35,573.8-7.81,3781013.018

Indiana

173.12,985.1-4.01,0763911.239

Iowa

105.61,494.3-4.31,0993411.632

Kansas

89.91,346.9-4.51,0704011.534

Kentucky

130.41,839.6-4.81,0574210.843

Louisiana

140.81,796.9-7.01,078388.648

Maine

55.4594.3-4.31,0923614.510

Maryland

174.52,546.1-6.71,445813.616

Massachusetts

266.73,365.8-8.31,766217.03

Michigan

265.33,998.2-8.91,2571912.821

Minnesota

186.42,684.1-7.91,3221312.325

Mississippi

76.11,119.1-2.49015110.445

Missouri

221.52,724.4-4.31,1273311.632

Montana

54.6467.4-1.41,0354512.723

Nebraska

72.5962.7-2.91,0793711.534

Nevada

90.21,283.1-10.71,1782514.411

New Hampshire

57.1637.3-5.21,406917.92

New Jersey

291.03,860.5-7.21,517713.915

New Mexico

64.8767.1-9.51,0524311.829

New York

662.48,693.4-10.31,712414.213

North Carolina

301.74,431.0-2.71,1522911.239

North Dakota

32.6394.4-7.11,136314.750

Ohio

307.35,199.9-5.11,1612712.028

Oklahoma

113.61,569.1-4.41,013487.349

Oregon

167.31,824.3-7.51,2562014.213

Pennsylvania

370.55,549.4-7.41,2871512.624

Rhode Island

40.7449.6-8.31,2591814.77

South Carolina

149.22,074.4-3.51,0354511.141

South Dakota

35.5422.8-1.91,0484414.411

Tennessee

176.23,002.5-2.71,1722611.730

Texas

743.112,251.1-4.31,294149.047

Utah

117.91,557.80.61,1542812.920

Vermont

26.6286.1-8.91,1333214.77

Virginia

289.83,796.1-4.71,3601213.018

Washington

259.73,219.7-6.81,589516.04

West Virginia

51.9654.1-5.39975010.346

Wisconsin

184.22,762.5-4.81,1403011.730

Wyoming

27.7260.2-5.31,061414.651

Puerto Rico

46.0873.8-4.0621(3)8.0(3)

Virgin Islands

3.535.3-11.51,057(3)-1.3(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: Wednesday, June 16, 2021