Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

--> --> -->

News Release Information

20-1011-ATL
Friday, June 12, 2020

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:
  • (404) 893-4220

County Employment and Wages in North Carolina – Fourth Quarter 2019

Employment rose in 9 of North Carolina’s 11 large counties from December 2018 to December 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are those with annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2018.) Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that employment increases ranged from 3.0 percent in Durham County to 0.7 percent in Cumberland County. (See 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 11 largest counties in North Carolina, employment was highest in Mecklenburg County (727,500) in December 2019, while Pitt County had the smallest employment level (78,200). Together, North Carolina’s 11 large counties accounted for 57.8 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 355 largest counties made up 73.7 percent of total U.S. employment.

Nine of North Carolina’s large counties reported average weekly wage gains from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019, with the largest gain in Guilford County, up 4.0 percent. Durham County had the highest average weekly wage among the state’s largest counties ($1,388). Nationally, the average weekly wage increased 3.5 percent from a year ago to $1,185 in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 89 counties in North Carolina with employment below 75,000. Average weekly wages in these counties ranged from $1,226 to $649. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

In the fourth quarter of 2019, Guilford County (4.0 percent) and Mecklenburg County (3.7 percent) were the only large counties in North Carolina to have over-the-year wage gains above the national average of 3.5 percent. Wages declined over the year for Wake County (-3.3 percent) and Cumberland County (-0.9 percent).

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

Among North Carolina’s large counties, Durham ($1,388, 41st), Mecklenburg ($1,316, 51st), and Wake ($1,213, 80th), had average weekly wages above the U.S average of $1,185 and ranked in the top 100 nationwide. Average weekly wages in the state’s eight remaining large counties placed in the bottom half of the national ranking in the fourth quarter of 2019.

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 North Carolina’s smaller counties

Among the 89 smaller counties in North Carolina—those with employment below 75,000—only Orange County ($1,226) had an average weekly wage above the national average of $1,185. Clay County had the lowest average weekly wage in state, averaging $649 per week in the fourth quarter of 2019.

When all 100 counties in North Carolina were considered, 10 reported average weekly wages of $699 or below, 57 had wages from $700 to $799, 19 had wages from $800 to $899, 9 had wages from $900 to $999, and 5 had wages of $1,000 or higher in the fourth quarter of 2019. (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 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 11 largest counties in North Carolina, fourth quarter 2019
AreaEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December 2019 (thousands)Percent change, December 2018-19 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)Average weekly wageNational 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--

North Carolina

4,546.91.9--1,036282.445

Buncombe

136.41.41329173072.5246

Cabarrus

78.61.51148563383.5149

Catawba

89.2-0.73278853272.7226

Cumberland

122.30.7204869332-0.9350

Durham

213.43.0201,388412.2272

Forsyth

193.61.9811,0451943.5149

Guilford

288.41.01759922394.0109

Mecklenburg

727.52.9281,316513.7133

New Hanover

119.32.9289362952.9213

Pitt

78.2-0.22989143141.7304

Wake

582.92.7391,21380-3.3352

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 North Carolina, fourth quarter 2019
AreaEmployment December 2019Average weekly wage(1)

United States(2)

149,857,130$1,185

North Carolina

4,546,8691,036

Alamance

63,297839

Alexander

9,463681

Alleghany

3,143655

Anson

6,930712

Ashe

7,403744

Avery

6,400689

Beaufort

15,554743

Bertie

5,689680

Bladen

12,901752

Brunswick

32,563806

Buncombe

136,416917

Burke

30,020778

Cabarrus

78,590856

Caldwell

25,504789

Camden

1,253761

Carteret

23,380751

Caswell

2,977748

Catawba

89,234885

Chatham

15,695799

Cherokee

7,997701

Chowan

4,777772

Clay

2,050649

Cleveland

35,790825

Columbus

15,443719

Craven

40,229923

Cumberland

122,301869

Currituck

6,366732

Dare

16,710741

Davidson

44,455857

Davie

13,020804

Duplin

19,049726

Durham

213,4481,388

Edgecombe

15,972761

Forsyth

193,6121,045

Franklin

12,386883

Gaston

74,846849

Gates

1,608753

Graham

1,986734

Granville

20,898913

Greene

4,465738

Guilford

288,428992

Halifax

15,621706

Harnett

25,789744

Haywood

17,897748

Henderson

40,484837

Hertford

9,205783

Hoke

8,882723

Hyde

1,708711

Iredell

77,158983

Jackson

14,354776

Johnston

51,993823

Jones

1,645726

Lee

25,818858

Lenoir

28,675797

Lincoln

25,213885

McDowell

15,843740

Macon

11,354758

Madison

4,044716

Martin

6,578662

Mecklenburg

727,4631,316

Mitchell

4,655778

Montgomery

9,330765

Moore

37,332844

Nash

41,298829

New Hanover

119,265936

Northampton

5,443709

Onslow

49,468734

Orange

73,1281,226

Pamlico

3,266666

Pasquotank

15,361788

Pender

12,778745

Perquimans

2,127731

Person

9,630804

Pitt

78,238914

Polk

5,060674

Randolph

45,356760

Richmond

13,660712

Robeson

39,615731

Rockingham

25,116723

Rowan

49,110887

Rutherford

18,576729

Sampson

18,249795

Scotland

12,143787

Stanly

19,474748

Stokes

7,641667

Surry

28,616743

Swain

10,036740

Transylvania

9,242740

Tyrrell

1,111703

Union

66,059925

Vance

14,441715

Wake

582,9301,213

Warren

2,981693

Washington

3,171800

Watauga

24,659749

Wayne

41,894783

Wilkes

21,030750

Wilson

36,901919

Yadkin

9,782742

Yancey

4,513791

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 2018-19Average weekly wageNational 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: Friday, June 12, 2020