For Release: Thursday, January 29, 2015

15-135-BOS

NEW ENGLAND INFORMATION OFFICE: Boston, Mass.
Technical information: (617) 565-2327 BLSInfoBoston@bls.gov www.bls.gov/regions/new-england
Media contact: (617) 565-2327 BLSMediaBoston@bls.gov

County Employment and Wages in Massachusetts – Second Quarter 2014

Employment increased in all nine of the large counties in Massachusetts from June 2013 to June 2014. (Large counties are defined as those with employment of 75,000 or more as measured by 2013 annual average employment.) Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that Essex County had the largest gain, up 1.8 percent, followed by Norfolk County, up 1.7 percent. Employment gains in all nine large counties were below the national increase of 2.0 percent.

Nationally, 305 of the 339 large counties had employment gains from June 2013 to June 2014. The largest over-the-year percentage gain was recorded in Weld, Colo. (8.9 percent). Atlantic, N.J., had the largest over-the-year decrease in employment (-1.6 percent).

Among the nine large counties in Massachusetts, employment was highest in Middlesex (861,791) in June 2014, followed by Suffolk (619,466). Together, Massachusetts’ large counties accounted for 93.6 percent of total employment within the Commonwealth. Nationwide, the 339 largest counties made up 71.8 percent of total U.S. employment in June 2014.

Average weekly wages increased in all nine of the large counties in Massachusetts from the second quarter of 2013 to the second quarter of 2014. Suffolk County had the largest wage gain, up 3.7 percent. Barnstable and Essex (2.9 percent each) and Hampden (2.8 percent) recorded the next highest wage growth. Suffolk County had the highest average weekly wage at $1,463, followed by Middlesex ($1,386) and Norfolk ($1,077). Nationally, the average weekly wage increased 2.1 percent over the year to $940 in the second quarter of 2014. (See table 1.)

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the five counties in Massachusetts with employment below 75,000. All five of these smaller counties had average weekly wages below the national average. (See table 2.)

Large County Wage Changes

Suffolk County’s 3.7-percent annual wage gain ranked 29th among the 339 largest U.S. counties in the second quarter of June 2014. Barnstable and Essex (2.9 percent each) as well as Hampden (2.8 percent) placed in the top-quarter for wage growth among the largest U.S. counties. (See table 1.) Plymouth (2.6 percent) and Worcester (2.4 percent) also had above average wage growth.

Of the 339 largest counties, 312 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Nationwide, Midland, Texas, ranked first in average weekly wage growth, with an increase of 9.0 percent from the second quarter of 2013. Douglas, Colo., placed second with a wage gain of 8.8 percent, followed by Hillsborough, N.H. (7.4 percent) and Collier, Fla. (6.8 percent).

Twenty-two large counties nationwide experienced over-the-year declines in average weekly wages. Williamson, Texas, had the largest average weekly wage decrease with a loss of 2.7 percent. Westchester, N.Y., had the second largest decrease in average weekly wages, followed by Lake, Ind.; Bibb, Ga.; Washington, D.C.; and Chittenden, Vt.

Large County Average Weekly Wages

Average weekly wages in 5 of Massachusetts’ 9 large counties were above the national average of $940 in the second quarter of 2014. Two of these counties placed in the top 10 nationwide—Suffolk ($1,463, 7th) and Middlesex ($1,386, 10th). Average weekly wages were lowest in Barnstable County ($789, 256th).

Average weekly wages were higher than the national average in 109 of the 339 largest U.S. counties. Santa Clara, Calif., held the top position with an average weekly wage of $1,886. San Mateo, Calif., was second with an average weekly wage of $1,740, followed by New York, N.Y. ($1,732), San Francisco, Calif. ($1,593), and Washington, D.C. ($1,569).

More than two-thirds of the largest U.S. counties (230) reported average weekly wages below the national average in the second quarter of 2014. The lowest weekly wage was reported in Horry, S.C. ($548), followed by the Texas counties of Cameron ($585) and Hidalgo ($608). Wages in these lowest-ranked counties were less than one-third of the average weekly wage reported for the highest-ranked county, Santa Clara, Calif. ($1,886).

Average Weekly Wages in Massachusetts’ Smaller Counties

All five counties in Massachusetts with employment below 75,000 had average weekly wages lower than the national average of $940. Among these smaller counties, Nantucket had the highest average weekly wage at $912 and Franklin reported the lowest at $721.

When all 14 counties in Massachusetts were considered, 3 counties had an average weekly wage below $800. Four counties reported weekly wages ranging from $800 to $899 and three counties had weekly wages from $900 to $999. The four highest-paid counties, those with average weekly wages over $1,000, were located in the Boston metropolitan area, including the area encircled by Highway 495. (See chart 1.)

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 the QCEW Web site at www.bls.gov/cew.

An annual bulletin, Employment and Wages Annual Wages Online, features comprehensive information by detailed industry on establishments, employment, and wages for the nation and all states. The 2013 edition of this publication, which was published in September 2014, contains selected data produced by Business Employment Dynamics (BED) on job gains and losses, as well as selected data from the first quarter 2014 version of the news release. Tables and additional content from Employment and Wages Annual Averages 2013 are now available online at www.bls.gov/cew/publications/employment-and-wages-annual-averages/2013/home.htm. The 2014 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2015. 

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Services: 1-800-877-8339.

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 9.4 million employer reports cover 137.8 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 Massachusetts, second quarter 2014
Table 1. Covered employment and wages in the United States and the 9 largest counties in Massachusetts, second quarter 2014
AreaEmploymentAverage Weekly Wage (1)
June
2014
(thousands)
Percent change,
June
2013-14 (2)
National
ranking by
percent change (3)
Average
weekly
wage
National
ranking by
level (3)
Percent change,
second quarter
2013-14 (2)
National
ranking by
percent change (3)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- ContinuedNote: See footnotes at end of table.

United States (4)

137,776.42.0--$940--2.1--

Massachusetts

3,407.01.4--1,15822.415

Barnstable, Mass.

103.50.92507892562.967

Bristol, Mass.

222.31.12358561742.0143

Essex, Mass.

320.01.81521,007692.967

Hampden, Mass.

202.50.62738561742.879

Middlesex, Mass..

861.81.51851,386101.1249

Norfolk, Mass.

343.01.71671,077460.7276

Plymouth, Mass.

185.90.62739111332.686

Suffolk, Mass.

619.51.51851,46373.729

Worcester, Mass.

332.11.02449461022.4104

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 the county of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
(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.

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 the county of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
(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 Massachusetts, second quarter 2014
Table 2. Covered employment and wages in the United States and all counties in Massachusetts, second quarter 2014
AreaEmployment
June
2013
Average
Weekly
Wage (1)
 
 
 
- Continued

United States (2)

137,776,364$940

Massachusetts

3,407,0161,158

Barnstable County

103,461789

Berkshire County

62,851779

Bristol County

222,299856

Dukes County

10,437831

Essex County

320,0221,007

Franklin County

26,602721

Hampden County

202,540856

Hampshire County

61,176809

Middlesex County

861,7911,386

Nantucket County

8,571912

Norfolk County

343,0271,077

Plymouth County

185,897911

Suffolk County

619,4661,463

Worcester County

332,111946

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: Covered employment and wages 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, second quarter 2014
Table 3. Covered employment and wages by state, second quarter 2014
StateEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
June 2014 (thousands)Percent change, June 2013-14Average weekly wageNational ranking by levelPercent change, second quarter 2013-14National ranking by percent change
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- ContinuedNote: See footnotes at end of table.

United States (2)

137,776.42.0$940--2.1--

Alabama

1,872.90.7806361.638

Alaska

344.90.51,01484.62

Arizona

2,486.01.9888211.343

Arkansas

1,168.11.5745471.541

California

15,905.62.81,07262.415

Colorado

2,439.33.4960142.98

Connecticut

1,676.60.61,15532.513

Delaware

429.02.5976111.244

District of Columbia

732.61.01,5691-0.551

Florida

7,628.63.1839282.123

Georgia

4,036.33.1882221.735

Hawaii

624.61.1845262.710

Idaho

659.22.5697512.222

Illinois

5,836.91.5988101.932

Indiana

2,916.91.8784421.244

Iowa

1,547.81.6780433.07

Kansas

1,372.81.7797382.320

Kentucky

1,820.81.7798372.027

Louisiana

1,921.61.4843272.415

Maine

610.40.8746462.123

Maryland

2,594.40.91,02071.638

Massachusetts

3,407.01.41,15822.415

Michigan

4,164.72.3897202.320

Minnesota

2,782.01.3947161.932

Mississippi

1,101.10.5705502.027

Missouri

2,703.21.3818311.932

Montana

453.41.1734482.415

Nebraska

956.21.4756452.710

Nevada

1,210.13.4833300.650

New Hampshire

637.21.2955154.33

New Jersey

3,944.80.81,09751.244

New Mexico

801.00.6794401.735

New York

8,965.21.81,14642.415

North Carolina

4,080.72.4818311.244

North Dakota

453.04.4936175.51

Ohio

5,233.81.4846252.123

Oklahoma

1,578.01.0816332.612

Oregon

1,748.42.4874232.98

Pennsylvania

5,719.81.0933181.638

Rhode Island

472.91.6898192.027

South Carolina

1,916.42.7765442.513

South Dakota

422.91.4712493.34

Tennessee

2,755.71.8836292.027

Texas

11,402.83.0973133.15

Utah

1,297.52.9796391.735

Vermont

307.01.0813350.749

Virginia

3,710.80.7976110.848

Washington

3,109.63.299092.123

West Virginia

711.3-0.3792411.442

Wisconsin

2,809.11.3816332.027

Wyoming

295.31.6871243.15

Puerto Rico

897.0-2.0504(3)0.6(3)

Virgin Islands

37.8-2.2728(3)2.8(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.

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 Massachusetts, second quarter 2014