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News Release Information

19-953-ATL
Tuesday, July 02, 2019

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Technical information:
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  • (404) 893-4220

County Employment and Wages in North Carolina – Fourth Quarter 2018

Employment in 10 of North Carolina’s 11 large counties increased from December 2017 to December 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are defined as those with 2017 average annual employment levels of 75,000 or more.) Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that employment increases ranged from 3.0 percent in Durham County to 0.6 percent in Guilford County. (See table 1.)

Nationally, employment advanced 1.5 percent from December 2017 to December 2018 as 296 of the 349 largest U.S. counties had increases. Midland, TX, had the largest over-the-year increase in employment with a gain of 10.0 percent. Bay, FL, had the largest over-the-year decrease in employment with a loss of 5.6 percent.

Among the 11 largest counties in North Carolina, employment was highest in Mecklenburg County (706,600) in December 2018, while Pitt County had the smallest employment level (78,700). Together, North Carolina’s large counties accounted for 57.7 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 349 largest counties made up 73.2 percent of total U.S. employment, which stood at 148.1 million in December 2018.

Each of North Carolina’s 11 large counties had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages in the fourth quarter of 2018, with the largest increase in Wake County (11.9 percent). Durham County had the highest weekly wage among the state’s largest counties at $1,357, followed by Mecklenburg ($1,271), and Wake ($1,252). Nationally, the average weekly wage increased 3.2 percent over the year to $1,144. (See table 1.)

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 89 counties in North Carolina with 2017 average annual employment levels below 75,000. Average weekly wages in these counties ranged from $1,186 to $631. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

In the fourth quarter of 2018, 8 of the 11 large North Carolina counties had over-the-year average weekly wage gains that were at or above the 3.2-percent national average. Four of these counties placed in the top 50 of the national ranking: Wake (11.9 percent, 4th), Cumberland (6.8 percent, 15th), Durham (5.4 percent, 37th), and Buncombe (5.2 percent, 47th). (See table 1.)

Nationally, 332 of the 349 largest counties had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Tippecanoe, IN, had the largest over-the-year wage gain at 15.1 percent, followed by Williamson, TN (13.1 percent) and Olmsted, MN (13.0 percent).

Of the 349 largest U.S. counties, 15 had over-the-year wage decreases. Washington, PA, had the largest percentage decrease in average weekly wages (-6.6 percent), followed by Elkhart IN (-5.0 percent).

 

Large county average weekly wages

Among North Carolina’s large counties, Durham ($1,357, 37th), Mecklenburg ($1,271, 52nd), and Wake ($1,252, 57th), had average weekly wages above the U.S average of $1,144 and ranked in the top 75 nationwide. Average weekly wages in the state’s eight remaining large counties placed in the bottom half of the national ranking.

Nationwide, average weekly wages were above the U.S. average ($1,144) in 94 of the 349 largest counties in the fourth quarter of 2018. Santa Clara, CA, recorded the highest average weekly wage at $2,670, followed by San Francisco, CA ($2,452); San Mateo, CA ($2,410); and New York, NY ($2,400).

Among the largest U.S. counties, 255 had weekly wages below the national average in the fourth quarter of 2018. Hidalgo, TX ($680) had the lowest wage, followed by the counties of Cameron, TX, and Horry, SC ($685 each).

Average weekly wages in North Carolina’s smaller counties

With the exception of Orange County ($1,186), counties in North Carolina with 2017 average annual employment levels below 75,000 had average weekly wages lower than the national average of $1,144. Among these smaller counties, Martin had the lowest average weekly wage in state, averaging $631 in the fourth quarter of 2018. (See table 2.)

When all 100 counties in North Carolina were considered, 18 had average weekly wages below $699, 52 had wages from $700 to $799, 20 had wages from $800 to $899, 5 had wages from $900 to $999, and 5 had wages above $1,000 in the fourth quarter of 2018. (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 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 2017 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 2018 version of the national news release. Tables and additional content from Employment and Wages Annual Averages 2017 are now available online at www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn17.htm. The 2018 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2019.

The County Employment and Wages release for first quarter 2019 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, August 21, 2019. The County Employment and Wages full data update for first quarter 2019 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.

BLS Local Data App Now Available for Android Devices

The BLS Local Data app, first released for iPhones last fall, is now available for Android devices. Search using your current location, a zip code, or a location name to find employment and wage data for detailed industries and occupations. BLS continues to partner with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Chief Information Officer to expand the features and data in the app. For more information please visit: https://beta.bls.gov/labs/blogs/2019/04/17/bls-local-data-app-now-available-for-android-devices/.


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 11 largest counties in North Carolina, fourth quarter 2018
AreaEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December 2018 (thousands)Percent change, December 2017-18 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)Average weekly wageNational ranking by level (3)Percent change, fourth quarter 2017-18 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

148,061.81.5--$1,144--3.2--

North Carolina

4,458.91.6--1,013265.16

Buncombe, NC

134.31.9868963015.247

Cabarrus, NC

80.42.7368133333.2155

Catawba, NC

89.51.31498623192.3236

Cumberland, NC

121.2-0.13038793086.815

Durham, NC

207.93.0281,357375.437

Forsyth, NC

188.80.91851,0101910.4325

Guilford, NC

284.50.62279612351.7279

Mecklenburg, NC

706.62.1691,271523.5128

New Hanover, NC

115.62.2609122844.184

Pitt, NC

78.72.2609002984.569

Wake, NC

566.61.61261,2525711.94

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 counties in North Carolina, fourth quarter 2018
AreaEmployment December 2018Average Weekly Wage(1)

United States(2)

148,061,773$1,144

North Carolina

4,458,8621,013

Alamance

62,248802

Alexander

9,264682

Alleghany

3,025656

Anson

7,287694

Ashe

7,180710

Avery

6,357677

Beaufort

15,638748

Bertie

5,844648

Bladen

13,264714

Brunswick

31,691797

Buncombe

134,338896

Burke

29,306764

Cabarrus

80,379813

Caldwell

25,163778

Camden

1,197761

Carteret

22,813724

Caswell

3,073749

Catawba

89,543862

Chatham

15,076784

Cherokee

7,999689

Chowan

4,715771

Clay

2,034633

Cleveland

35,292807

Columbus

14,968720

Craven

39,239885

Cumberland

121,222879

Currituck

6,324761

Dare

16,566708

Davidson

44,079812

Davie

12,984745

Duplin

18,952728

Durham

207,9421,357

Edgecombe

16,525752

Forsyth

188,8081,010

Franklin

12,608940

Gaston

76,326843

Gates

1,521711

Graham

2,048754

Granville

21,182895

Greene

4,199719

Guilford

284,543961

Halifax

15,680708

Harnett

25,392726

Haywood

17,726741

Henderson

38,770818

Hertford

9,177764

Hoke

8,593694

Hyde

1,735710

Iredell

74,766947

Jackson

13,899746

Johnston

49,667815

Jones

1,943741

Lee

26,179830

Lenoir

28,826783

Lincoln

23,348828

McDowell

15,829727

Macon

11,184689

Madison

3,807698

Martin

6,619631

Mecklenburg

706,6341,271

Mitchell

4,624778

Montgomery

9,115756

Moore

36,533810

Nash

41,462804

New Hanover

115,639912

Northampton

5,308739

Onslow

48,680708

Orange

72,1421,186

Pamlico

3,253668

Pasquotank

15,365794

Pender

11,772747

Perquimans

2,232679

Person

9,645827

Pitt

78,667900

Polk

4,888665

Randolph

45,028744

Richmond

13,578687

Robeson

39,350713

Rockingham

25,260705

Rowan

49,303876

Rutherford

18,459710

Sampson

18,539765

Scotland

11,958761

Stanly

19,167731

Stokes

7,599654

Surry

29,245748

Swain

9,779711

Transylvania

8,870720

Tyrrell

1,066668

Union

64,696896

Vance

14,361708

Wake

566,5961,252

Warren

3,003661

Washington

3,247780

Watauga

24,058721

Wayne

41,967767

Wilkes

21,785723

Wilson

36,429886

Yadkin

9,975727

Yancey

4,418753

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 2018
StateEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December 2018 (thousands)Percent change, December 2017-18Average weekly wageNational ranking by levelPercent change, fourth quarter 2017-18National ranking by percent change

United States (2)

148,061.81.5$1,144--3.2--

Alabama

1,986.61.6957363.133

Alaska

308.30.41,103164.97

Arizona

2,921.13.01,017244.111

Arkansas

1,227.00.8869502.443

California

17,556.71.71,39243.326

Colorado

2,713.72.21,180104.111

Connecticut

1,697.90.51,33451.349

Delaware

451.21.11,107152.443

District of Columbia

775.10.61,94317.32

Florida

8,902.72.11,006273.133

Georgia

4,499.81.81,053212.443

Hawaii

669.30.61,016253.326

Idaho

734.43.2890473.620

Illinois

6,026.00.31,18993.326

Indiana

3,086.20.9941382.837

Iowa

1,558.40.5966353.035

Kansas

1,402.20.8927413.718

Kentucky

1,914.00.3924423.230

Louisiana

1,934.10.7968343.815

Maine

618.41.3906442.541

Maryland

2,702.50.81,22881.748

Massachusetts

3,620.31.01,45723.326

Michigan

4,366.51.01,077191.349

Minnesota

2,902.30.91,140143.620

Mississippi

1,144.30.2793512.541

Missouri

2,821.30.5980313.620

Montana

468.81.6888485.25

Nebraska

983.00.2930403.230

Nevada

1,397.43.31,006275.34

New Hampshire

666.00.71,158122.346

New Jersey

4,125.60.81,29862.738

New Mexico

830.21.5905454.69

New York

9,613.21.51,44531.051

North Carolina

4,458.91.61,013265.16

North Dakota

422.31.51,057204.78

Ohio

5,442.90.51,006273.424

Oklahoma

1,632.31.5932394.111

Oregon

1,935.81.71,052223.718

Pennsylvania

5,932.51.01,103162.639

Rhode Island

487.20.81,085182.639

South Carolina

2,119.62.8893461.947

South Dakota

428.41.2885493.424

Tennessee

3,039.81.81,030233.035

Texas

12,531.72.51,148133.523

Utah

1,511.53.2972333.815

Vermont

314.2-0.4954373.230

Virginia

3,927.21.11,164113.815

Washington

3,384.22.41,29276.33

West Virginia

704.21.5917438.31

Wisconsin

2,892.30.6989304.014

Wyoming

272.11.8978324.410

Puerto Rico

896.40.8576(3)0.9(3)

Virgin Islands

34.50.5925(3)2.3(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: Tuesday, July 02, 2019