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News Release Information

20-1326-NEW
Wednesday, July 01, 2020

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County Employment and Wages in New Jersey — Fourth Quarter 2019

Employment rose in 13 of the 15 largest counties in New Jersey from December 2018 to December 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are those with 2018 annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more.) Chief Regional Economist Martin Kohli noted that employment rose 2.1 percent over the year in Ocean County, 1.5 percent in Gloucester County, and 1.3 percent in Passaic County. (See chart 1 and 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 15 largest counties in New Jersey, employment was highest in Bergen County (457,000) in December 2019. Middlesex had an employment level of 440,400, followed by Essex with 353,000. Altogether, New Jersey’s largest counties accounted for 91.1 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 355 largest counties made up 73.7 percent of total U.S. employment.   

Wages increased in 14 of the 15 largest counties in New Jersey from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019, with the fastest rate of increase in Union County at 7.9 percent. Morris County had the highest average weekly wage among the state’s largest counties at $1,691, followed by Somerset at $1,628. Nationally, the average weekly wage increased 3.5 percent from a year ago to $1,185 in the fourth quarter of 2019. (See chart 2.)

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the six counties in New Jersey with employment below 75,000. Hunterdon ($1,294) was the only small county to report an average weekly wage above the U.S. average of $1,185. Cape May County reported the lowest average weekly wage, $840. (See table 2.)

Large County Wage Changes

Union County’s 7.9-percent annual wage increase came in at more than twice the national rate of 3.5 percent. Morris and Ocean Counties, at 4.3 percent and 3.7 percent respectively, were the only other large counties in the state with gains that exceeded the national average. Atlantic County’s 3.5-percent increase matched the national rate, followed by Camden County at 3.2 percent. Five counties—Bergen, Burlington, Essex, Gloucester, and Hudson—had over-the-year gains ranging from 2.7 percent to 2.0 percent. Wage gains ranged from 1.9 percent to 0.1 percent in four additional counties. Conversely, Mercer County (-0.8 percent) experienced an over-the-year loss and ranked 348th nationwide.

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

Eight of New Jersey’s large counties reported average weekly wages above the national average of $1,185 in the fourth quarter of 2019. The state’s five highest-paying counties—Morris, Somerset, Hudson, Union and Mercer—ranked among the nation’s top 30. Ocean County had an average weekly wage of $944, the lowest of New Jersey’s large counties, and ranked 286th nationwide.

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 New Jersey's Smaller Counties

Of the six smaller counties in New Jersey—those with employment below 75,000—Hunterdon ($1,294) was the only small county to report an average weekly wage above the U.S. average of $1,185. The remaining five smaller counties had average weekly wages ranging from $1,150 in Salem to $840 in Cape May.

When all 21 counties in New Jersey were considered, 9 had an average weekly above $1,250. All of these counties were clustered in northern and central New Jersey. Eight counties had average weekly wages below $1,100, five of which were located in the southern half of the state. (See chart 3.)

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 15 largest counties in New Jersey, fourth quarter 2019
AreaEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December 2019 (thousands)Percent change, December 2018-19 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)Fourth quarter 2019National 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--

New Jersey

4,157.40.8--1,33272.542

Atlantic

128.1-0.22989702643.5149

Bergen

457.00.72041,352482.4255

Burlington

204.50.52311,176982.7226

Camden

208.90.42411,1551103.2181

Essex

353.01.01751,403372.3261

Gloucester

118.21.51149582792.0289

Hudson

276.81.11601,482222.7226

Mercer

266.11.21441,45026-0.8348

Middlesex

440.40.12731,312521.3324

Monmouth

267.11.21441,1531121.9293

Morris

300.11.21441,691124.379

Ocean

171.02.1669442863.7133

Passaic

169.91.31381,0911601.2328

Somerset

191.6-0.63221,628140.1341

Union

232.90.12731,462237.98

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 New Jersey, fourth quarter 2019
AreaEmployment December 2019Average weekly wage (1) fourth quarter 2019

United States (2)

149,857,130$1,185

  New Jersey

4,157,4101,332

    Atlantic

128,087970

    Bergen

456,9911,352

    Burlington

204,4851,176

    Camden

208,8931,155

    Cape May

36,573840

    Cumberland

59,804971

    Essex

353,0251,403

    Gloucester

118,246958

    Hudson

276,7971,482

    Hunterdon

48,3641,294

    Mercer

266,1421,450

    Middlesex

440,3911,312

    Monmouth

267,1421,153

    Morris

300,0831,691

    Ocean

171,031944

    Passaic

169,8861,091

    Salem

20,4231,150

    Somerset

191,5751,628

    Sussex

38,492973

    Union

232,9061,462

    Warren

32,8121,056

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 2018-19Fourth quarter 2019National 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: Wednesday, July 01, 2020