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News Release Information

19-1801-BOS
Wednesday, October 09, 2019

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County Employment and Wages in Massachusetts – First Quarter 2019

Employment increased in 8 of the 9 large counties in Massachusetts from March 2018 to March 2019. (Large counties are those with 2018 annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more.) Regional Commissioner Deborah A. Brown noted that three counties had over-the-year employment gains that were larger than the 1.4-percent national average: Suffolk (2.4 percent), Hampden (1.6 percent), and Middlesex (1.6 percent). Norfolk County experienced an employment decline, down 0.3 percent over the year.  (See table 1)

Nationally, 298 of the 355 large counties had employment gains from March 2018 to March 2019. The largest over-the-year percentage gain was recorded in Midland, TX (5.8 percent). Bay, FL, had the largest over-the-year decrease in employment (-5.9 percent).

Among the nine large counties in Massachusetts, employment was highest in Middlesex (926,100) in March 2019, followed by Suffolk (686,400). Together, Massachusetts’ large counties accounted for 94.0 percent of total employment within the commonwealth. Nationwide, the 355 largest counties made up 73.5 percent of total U.S. employment in March 2019.

Average weekly wages increased in all of the large counties in Massachusetts from the first quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019. Middlesex and Plymouth Counties had the largest wage gains, up 5.4 percent each. Barnstable (4.5 percent) and Bristol (4.2 percent) recorded the next highest wage growth. Suffolk County had the highest average weekly wage at $2,270, followed by Middlesex County at $1,886. Nationally, the average weekly wage increased 2.8 percent over the year to $1,184 in the first quarter of 2019. (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. Of these five smaller counties, Nantucket ($1,190) had an average weekly wage above the national average.  (See table 2.)

 

Large County Wage Changes

Eight of the nine large counties in Massachusetts recorded wage growth above the national increase of 2.8 percent. Middlesex and Plymouth Counties each had a 5.4-percent annual wage gain, ranking 18th among the 355 largest U.S. counties in the first quarter of 2019. Suffolk County’s wage gain of 0.2 percent over the year ranked in the bottom-fifth among the large U.S. counties.  (See table 1.)

Of the 355 largest U.S. counties, 325 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Nationwide, San Francisco, CA, ranked first in average weekly wage growth, with an increase of 10.2 percent from the first quarter of 2018. Twenty-eight large U.S. counties had wage declines over the year. Elkhart, IN, had the largest percentage decline in average weekly wages with a loss of 7.6 percent.

Large County Average Weekly Wages

Average weekly wages in four large Massachusetts counties were above the national average of $1,184 in the first quarter of 2019 and all ranked in the top-fourth nationwide. Two of these counties placed in the top 10 nationwide: Suffolk ($2,270, 5th) and Middlesex ($1,886, 11th). Barnstable County ($969, 215th) had the lowest average weekly wage among the large counties in the commonwealth.

Average weekly wages were higher than the national average in 92 of the 355 largest U.S. counties. New York, NY, held the top position with an average weekly wage of $3,153. San Francisco, CA, was second with an average weekly wage of $2,759, followed by Santa Clara, CA ($2,758), San Mateo, CA ($2,645), and Suffolk County, MA ($2,270).

More than two-thirds of the largest U.S. counties (263) reported average weekly wages below the national average in the first quarter of 2019. The lowest weekly wage was reported in Cameron, TX ($648), followed by Horry, SC ($652), and Hidalgo, TX ($662) and Webb, TX ($705). Wages in these lowest-ranked counties were less than one-third of the average weekly wage reported for the highest-ranked county, New York, NY ($3,153).

Average Weekly Wages in Massachusetts’ Smaller Counties

Among the five smaller counties in Massachusetts with employment below 75,000, Nantucket ($1,190) had the highest average weekly wage. Franklin reported the lowest average weekly wage at $827.

When all 14 counties in Massachusetts were considered, 1 county had average weekly wages below $899. Four counties reported weekly wages ranging from $900 to $999, three had wages from $1,000 to $1,099, and six had wages above $1,100. The two highest-paid counties were located in the Boston metropolitan area, which includes the area encircled by Highway 128.  (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 2018 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 2019 version of the national news release. Tables and additional content from Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online are now available at www.bls.gov/cew/publications/employment-and-wages-annual-averages/2018/home.htm.

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 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, first quarter 2019
AreaEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
March 2019 (thousands)Percent change, March 2018-19 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)Average weekly wageNational ranking by level (3)Percent change, first quarter 2018-19 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

146,497.61.4--$1,184--2.8--

Massachusetts

3,558.11.1--1,56133.57

Barnstable, Mass.

86.80.12859692154.550

Bristol, Mass.

224.80.62329991984.260

Essex, Mass.

321.50.22751,229773.592

Hampden, Mass.

210.01.61181,0151873.875

Middlesex, Mass.

926.11.61181,886115.418

Norfolk, Mass.

348.6-0.33161,324553.4102

Plymouth, Mass.

191.60.72241,0581575.418

Suffolk, Mass.

686.42.4482,27050.2319

Worcester, Mass.

348.50.72241,1211213.0136

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, first quarter 2019
AreaEmployment March 2019Average weekly wage (1)

United States(2)

146,497,599$1,184

Massachusetts

3,558,0711,561

Barnstable

86,769969

Berkshire

60,047913

Bristol

224,765999

Dukes

7,0711,094

Essex

321,5171,229

Franklin

25,992827

Hampden

210,0331,015

Hampshire

64,841950

Middlesex

926,0581,886

Nantucket

5,6171,190

Norfolk

348,6371,324

Plymouth

191,6451,058

Suffolk

686,3592,270

Worcester

348,5171,121

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

United States (2)

146,497.61.4$1,184--2.8--

Alabama

1,978.01.6944382.532

Alaska

312.40.31,108183.39

Arizona

2,895.12.51,056223.021

Arkansas

1,218.50.7896452.238

California

17,436.41.81,40153.84

Colorado

2,690.31.91,23194.82

Connecticut

1,650.60.01,48742.334

Delaware

444.11.31,19913-0.151

District of Columbia

773.50.51,92110.249

Florida

8,894.32.11,015262.725

Georgia

4,488.62.11,121172.628

Hawaii

658.1-0.41,006273.48

Idaho

732.32.7828502.334

Illinois

5,912.00.11,27582.725

Indiana

3,059.11.2963330.948

Iowa

1,527.10.1942392.334

Kansas

1,379.30.6940403.212

Kentucky

1,882.60.6920412.238

Louisiana

1,916.8-0.1954342.532

Maine

599.81.2919423.116

Maryland

2,670.30.91,228101.745

Massachusetts

3,558.11.11,56133.57

Michigan

4,307.40.61,078200.150

Minnesota

2,840.80.51,203122.334

Mississippi

1,129.80.4779511.843

Missouri

2,788.40.5986312.628

Montana

458.80.9844493.116

Nebraska

965.60.1917432.238

Nevada

1,392.23.0992291.547

New Hampshire

656.21.21,156153.116

New Jersey

4,040.21.31,39961.745

New Mexico

825.41.3890473.212

New York

9,453.51.51,63922.628

North Carolina

4,458.52.01,054233.212

North Dakota

414.31.51,021253.39

Ohio

5,363.20.71,035243.021

Oklahoma

1,617.01.1953354.33

Oregon

1,921.91.31,060213.39

Pennsylvania

5,850.31.11,146162.824

Rhode Island

474.70.81,104191.843

South Carolina

2,110.02.0901443.021

South Dakota

419.00.4865482.725

Tennessee

3,004.22.0996281.942

Texas

12,455.62.21,204113.116

Utah

1,501.43.0978323.116

Vermont

309.10.4950363.75

Virginia

3,896.91.21,186142.141

Washington

3,371.11.81,36874.91

West Virginia

687.10.3896453.212

Wisconsin

2,838.90.1992292.628

Wyoming

269.01.9948373.75

Puerto Rico

875.82.2553(3)-2.1(3)

Virgin Islands

36.69.6966(3)-1.0(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, October 09, 2019