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News Release Information

17-37-BOS
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

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County Employment and Wages in Massachusetts – Second Quarter 2016

Employment increased in 8 of the 9 large counties in Massachusetts from June 2015 to June 2016. (Large counties are defined as those with employment of 75,000 or more as measured by 2015 annual average employment.) Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that Suffolk County had the largest gain, up 2.5 percent, which was higher than the national increase of 1.5 percent. Norfolk County had the second highest gain, up 1.3 percent.

Nationally, 291 of the 344 large counties had employment gains from June 2015 to June 2016. Williamson, Tenn., recorded the largest percentage increase, up 6.7 percent over the year. Midland, Texas, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment with a loss of 8.3 percent.

Among the nine large counties in Massachusetts, employment was highest in Middlesex (893,100) in June 2016, followed by Suffolk (658,600). Together, Massachusetts’ large counties accounted for 93.7 percent of total employment within the Commonwealth. Nationwide, the 344 largest counties made up 72.5 percent of total U.S. employment in June 2016.

Average weekly wages increased in eight large counties in Massachusetts from the second quarter of 2015 to the second quarter of 2016. Bristol County had the largest wage gain, up 4.3 percent. Suffolk (4.0 percent) and Barnstable (3.5 percent) recorded the next highest wage growth. Suffolk County had the highest average weekly wage at $1,571, followed by Middlesex ($1,470) and Norfolk ($1,162). Nationally, the average weekly wage increased 2.2 percent over the year to $989 in the second quarter of 2016. (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

Six of the nine large counties in Massachusetts recorded over-the-year wage growth above the national increase of 2.2 percent. Bristol County’s 4.3-percent annual wage gain ranked 35th among the 344 largest U.S. counties in the second quarter of June 2016. (See table 1.)The wage growth in Suffolk (4.0 percent), Barnstable (3.5 percent), Worcester (3.4 percent), and Plymouth (3.0 percent) also ranked among the 100 large counties nationwide. Conversely, Middlesex County’s wage declined 1.3 percent over the year and ranked in the bottom-fifth among the large U.S. counties.

Of the 344 largest U.S. counties, 304 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Nationwide, McLean, Ill., ranked first in average weekly wage growth, with an increase of 21 percent from the second quarter of 2015. Elkhart, Ind., placed second with a wage gain of 8.5 percent, followed by King, Wash. (8.1 percent) and Washington, Ore. (7.4 percent).

Thirty-six counties nationwide experienced over-the-year declines in average weekly wages. Ventura, Calif., had the largest average weekly wage decrease with a loss of 8.4 percent. Forsyth, N.C., had the second largest decrease in average weekly wages, followed Lafayette, La.; Gregg, Texas; and Midland, Texas.

 

Large County Average Weekly Wages

Average weekly wages in two large counties in the Commonwealth ranked among the highest nationwide in the second quarter of 2016—Suffolk ($1,571, 6th) and Middlesex ($1,470, 11th). Average weekly wages in three other large counties in Massachusetts were also above the national average of $989 and placed among the top-third nationwide. Barnstable County ($833, 252nd) had the lowest average weekly wage among Massachusetts’ large counties.

Average weekly wages were higher than the national average in 102 of the 344 largest U.S. counties. Santa Clara, Calif., held the top position with an average weekly wage of $2,252. San Mateo, Calif., was second with an average weekly wage of $1,871, followed by New York, N.Y. ($1,866), San Francisco, Calif. ($1,806), and Washington, D.C. ($1,623).

More than two-thirds of the largest U.S. counties (242) reported average weekly wages below the national average in the second quarter of 2016. The lowest weekly wage was reported in Horry, S.C. ($598), followed by the Texas counties of Cameron ($602), Hidalgo ($626) and Webb ($659). 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. ($2,252).

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 $989. Among these smaller counties, Nantucket had the highest average weekly wage at $967 and Franklin reported the lowest at $781.

When all 14 counties in Massachusetts were considered, one county had an average weekly wage below $800. Five counties reported weekly wages ranging from $800 to $899 and four 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.(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.

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 Employment and Wages Annual Averages 2015 are now available online 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 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 9.7 million employer reports cover 142.7 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 Massachusetts, second quarter 2016
AreaEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
June 2016 (thousands)Percent change, June 2015-16 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)Average weekly wageNational ranking by level (3)Percent change, second quarter 2015-16 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

142,717.201.5--$989--2.2--

Massachusetts

3,538.201.2--1,23322.029

Barnstable, Mass.

106.20.52708332523.566

Bristol, Mass.

227.41.12049381464.335

Essex, Mass.

328.40.62571,054692.9105

Hampden, Mass.

208-0.12988851880.8284

Middlesex, Mass.

893.11.12041,47011-1.3326

Norfolk, Mass.

355.31.31881,162392.2181

Plymouth, Mass.

193.60.82389541313.0100

Suffolk, Mass.

658.62.5871,57164.052

Worcester, Mass.

343.91.12049921003.473
 

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 the counties in Massachusetts, second quarter 2016
AreaEmployment June 2016Average Weekly Wage (1)

United States(2)

142,717,157$989

Massachusetts

3,538,2261,233

Barnstable

106,154833

Berkshire

63,238843

Bristol

227,402938

Dukes

10,723891

Essex

328,3601,054

Franklin

27,315781

Hampden

208,045885

Hampshire

64,295842

Middlesex

893,0661,470

Nantucket

9,107967

Norfolk

355,2851,162

Plymouth

193,611954

Suffolk

658,5671,571

Worcester

343,901992

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

United States (2)

142,717.21.5$989--2.2--

Alabama

1,923.51.2835372.029

Alaska

338.7-2.41,01110-1.749

Arizona

2,619.62.6921221.933

Arkansas

1,197.51.1785473.07

California

16,754.12.51,15752.419

Colorado

2,574.52.3999141.043

Connecticut

1,689.9-0.11,21333.07

Delaware

444.00.999016-0.648

District of Columbia

756.01.71,62311.142

Florida

8,161.83.2883252.614

Georgia

4,269.52.7929212.711

Hawaii

643.41.0906243.55

Idaho

699.73.3740503.83

Illinois

5,945.00.21,03892.419

Indiana

2,995.41.0828392.127

Iowa

1,566.00.3825402.99

Kansas

1,378.4-0.2829381.239

Kentucky

1,877.21.5838361.933

Louisiana

1,905.2-1.4852320.246

Maine

622.81.0795463.55

Maryland

2,656.00.91,07082.515

Massachusetts

3,538.21.21,23322.029

Michigan

4,300.91.9942192.711

Minnesota

2,846.80.7997152.029

Mississippi

1,120.10.5727512.515

Missouri

2,785.61.4863302.419

Montana

468.62.2767481.735

Nebraska

978.30.9805432.419

Nevada

1,289.43.3874272.226

New Hampshire

655.11.11,003123.74

New Jersey

4,051.21.71,14761.735

New Mexico

808.1-0.3812420.944

New York

9,264.01.51,21042.515

North Carolina

4,285.32.5865292.127

North Dakota

423.3-4.990823-3.351

Ohio

5,353.10.8882262.029

Oklahoma

1,570.5-1.4823410.645

Oregon

1,867.82.7933204.12

Pennsylvania

5,786.80.4971171.437

Rhode Island

482.90.6949182.515

South Carolina

2,013.72.4804442.810

South Dakota

432.71.0760492.711

Tennessee

2,900.42.4874271.338

Texas

11,810.71.01,000131.239

Utah

1,395.93.8840352.325

Vermont

310.6-0.1850332.419

Virginia

3,833.41.61,011101.239

Washington

3,281.62.81,08375.41

West Virginia

693.2-1.980045-0.447

Wisconsin

2,869.10.9856312.419

Wyoming

281.7-3.784934-2.250

Puerto Rico

879.5-0.7512(3)0.2(3)

Virgin Islands

38.40.9743(3)-0.4(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, January 25, 2017