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

21-1609-ATL
Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Contacts

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

County Employment and Wages in Kentucky — First Quarter 2021

Employment fell in Kentucky’s three largest counties from March 2020 to March 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are those with annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2020.) Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that Fayette County had the largest over-the-year decrease in employment at 3.7 percent. (See chart 1 and table 1.)


National employment decreased 4.5 percent over the year, with 324 of the 343 largest U.S. counties reporting declines. Calcasieu, LA, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment with a loss of 14.9 percent. Utah, UT, experienced the largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment with a gain of 6.1 percent.

Among the three largest counties in Kentucky, employment was highest in Jefferson County (452,000) in March 2021. Within Jefferson County’s private industry, health care and social assistance accounted for the largest employment. Together, the three largest Kentucky counties accounted for 40.0 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 343 largest counties made up 72.3 percent of total U.S. employment.

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 117 counties in Kentucky with employment below 75,000. Wage levels in 116 of the 117 smaller counties were below the national average in the first quarter of 2021. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

Among Kentucky’s three largest counties, Jefferson County (+3.4 percent) and Fayette County (+3.0 percent) reported average weekly wage gains from the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021. (See chart 2.) Boone County reported an over-the-year decline in average weekly wages.


Among the 343 largest counties in the United States, 312 had over-the-year wage increases. Nationally, across most industries, increases in average weekly wages reflect substantial employment declines combined with wage increases. The lowest paying industry, leisure and hospitality, had the largest employment loss, which resulted in higher average weekly wages for the industry and the nation. San Francisco, CA, had the largest percentage wage increase (+33.9 percent). Clayton, GA, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease (-14.2 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Weekly wages in all of Kentucky’s three largest counties were below the national average of $1,289 in the first quarter of 2021. Average weekly wages in Jefferson County ($1,215, 113th) ranked in the top third nationwide.

Among the largest U.S. counties, 84 reported average weekly wages above the U.S. average in the first quarter of 2021. New York, NY, had the highest average weekly wage at $3,967. Average weekly wages were below the national average in the remaining 259 counties. At $685 a week, Cameron, TX, had the lowest average weekly wage.

Average weekly wages in Kentucky’s smaller counties

Among the 117 smaller counties in Kentucky—those with employment below 75,000—Hancock ($1,332) reported an average weekly wage above the national average of $1,289. Nicholas County ($555) reported the lowest average weekly wage in the state.

When all 120 counties in Kentucky were considered, 42 reported average weekly wages of less than $700, 37 registered wages from $700 to $799, 25 had wages from $800 to $899, 9 had wages from $900 to $999, and 7 had average weekly wages of $1,000 or higher. (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. This publication is typically published in September of the following year of the reference period or shortly after the QCEW first quarter full data update. The Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online is available at www.bls.gov/cew/publications/employment-and-wages-annual-averages/.

The County Employment and Wages release for second quarter 2021 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. (ET). The County Employment and Wages full data update for second quarter 2021 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. (ET).


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 individuals with sensory impairments 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 three largest counties in Kentucky, first quarter 2021
AreaEstablishments,
first quarter 2021
(thousands)
EmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
March 2021
(thousands)
Percent change,
March 2020–21 (2)
National ranking
by percent change (3)
First quarter
2021
National ranking
by level (3)
Percent change,
first quarter 2020–21 (2)
National ranking
by percent change (3)

United States (4)

10,755.4140,455.8-4.5--$1,289--5.6--

Kentucky

130.71,835.2-2.5--965412.342

Boone

5.096.0-0.314936297-1.4324

Fayette

12.2185.5-3.71111,0172313.0232

Jefferson

27.7452.0-3.0841,2151133.4213

Footnotes:
(1) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(2) Percent changes were computed from 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 Kentucky, first quarter 2021
AreaEmployment March 2021Average weekly wage(1)

United States(2)

140,455,819$1,289

Kentucky

1,835,209965

Adair

4,360650

Allen

4,543712

Anderson

4,775749

Ballard

2,234750

Barren

14,671740

Bath

1,890746

Bell

7,953669

Boone

96,041936

Bourbon

6,641837

Boyd

23,253970

Boyle

13,742822

Bracken

1,277743

Breathitt

2,587658

Breckinridge

3,446698

Bullitt

27,063830

Butler

2,799711

Caldwell

4,565661

Calloway

14,968733

Campbell

28,951897

Carlisle

994679

Carroll

6,8831,242

Carter

5,386672

Casey

3,844668

Christian

30,073855

Clark

13,779840

Clay

3,887721

Clinton

3,950576

Crittenden

1,899631

Cumberland

1,909716

Daviess

44,210874

Edmonson

1,486666

Elliott

828631

Estill

2,186796

Fayette

185,4731,017

Fleming

3,116743

Floyd

10,090750

Franklin

31,253914

Fulton

2,045632

Gallatin

2,4601,057

Garrard

2,100672

Grant

4,893839

Graves

11,471743

Grayson

7,353727

Green

1,710637

Greenup

6,601745

Hancock

3,9321,332

Hardin

46,416864

Harlan

5,729675

Harrison

4,893872

Hart

4,719742

Henderson

17,903861

Henry

2,649764

Hickman

919624

Hopkins

15,873841

Jackson

1,607632

Jefferson

452,0011,215

Jessamine

16,897821

Johnson

4,996686

Kenton

67,1791,212

Knott

1,953688

Knox

7,532656

Larue

2,510714

Laurel

26,799706

Lawrence

3,706685

Lee

1,576690

Leslie

1,438724

Letcher

4,123704

Lewis

1,943652

Lincoln

3,873742

Livingston

2,530922

Logan

8,599882

Lyon

2,406668

McCracken

37,591889

McCreary

2,991735

McLean

1,757657

Madison

33,127808

Magoffin

1,819573

Marion

8,142816

Marshall

10,363999

Martin

1,914772

Mason

7,893825

Meade

4,133816

Menifee

906667

Mercer

6,084957

Metcalfe

1,869726

Monroe

3,082680

Montgomery

10,020770

Morgan

2,772686

Muhlenberg

7,395793

Nelson

16,045853

Nicholas

844555

Ohio

7,012682

Oldham

16,192925

Owen

1,313799

Owsley

625628

Pendleton

2,238797

Perry

10,869784

Pike

19,561837

Powell

2,683618

Pulaski

24,703722

Robertson

278670

Rockcastle

3,656630

Rowan

9,672728

Russell

5,458665

Scott

27,864946

Shelby

15,673844

Simpson

8,758781

Spencer

1,985690

Taylor

12,344682

Todd

2,270727

Trigg

2,843627

Trimble

1,1941,180

Union

4,922925

Warren

62,946848

Washington

3,234786

Wayne

5,792610

Webster

2,678843

Whitley

12,607724

Wolfe

1,480557

Woodford

8,782831

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, first quarter 2021
StateEstablishments,
first quarter 2021
(thousands)
EmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
March 2021
(thousands)
Percent change,
March 2020–21
First quarter
2021
National ranking
by level
Percent change,
first quarter 2020–21
National ranking
by percent change

United States (2)

10,755.4140,455.8-4.5$1,289--5.6--

Alabama

135.91,924.3-3.0996372.540

Alaska

23.3295.0-5.51,12523-0.648

Arizona

176.52,894.2-2.31,150214.817

Arkansas

95.31,194.2-2.0957433.730

California

1,651.416,507.7-5.91,623411.31

Colorado

224.72,634.7-3.51,335104.125

Connecticut

128.31,550.5-5.41,57554.719

Delaware

35.2425.6-4.11,264131.644

District of Columbia

44.0708.1-9.02,16618.74

Florida

780.88,701.9-3.11,104245.113

Georgia

329.24,393.8-2.61,198173.633

Hawaii

48.0564.4-14.11,091265.79

Idaho

74.2768.61.9906504.915

Illinois

390.05,559.6-5.51,38786.77

Indiana

176.22,956.4-2.51,026343.337

Iowa

105.11,473.6-3.31,004352.639

Kansas

90.41,335.4-3.3986391.943

Kentucky

130.71,835.2-2.5965412.342

Louisiana

141.51,787.6-5.9977401.046

Maine

56.2585.0-2.81,000364.719

Maryland

174.32,522.1-5.01,38698.55

Massachusetts

271.23,334.9-6.61,73237.86

Michigan

267.54,026.6-5.91,155204.817

Minnesota

189.72,695.4-5.11,290114.622

Mississippi

75.31,098.4-2.5811511.145

Missouri

221.82,705.5-3.01,055303.730

Montana

53.2465.20.1915485.410

Nebraska

73.4944.7-2.8990383.633

Nevada

92.81,291.5-8.41,080274.719

New Hampshire

56.8631.8-3.91,258155.410

New Jersey

297.03,818.6-5.51,53375.312

New Mexico

65.2774.5-7.4958423.828

New York

664.68,587.8-8.71,869210.42

North Carolina

302.74,423.2-1.71,137224.125

North Dakota

32.3388.7-6.11,03732-0.951

Ohio

310.15,136.8-3.91,098253.337

Oklahoma

114.41,549.7-3.793946-0.850

Oregon

169.41,841.9-5.21,172186.48

Pennsylvania

369.75,531.3-5.41,226164.323

Rhode Island

41.2447.8-5.61,171193.435

South Carolina

150.12,056.2-2.6957433.828

South Dakota

35.6417.1-0.9932473.435

Tennessee

180.22,968.7-2.11,077285.014

Texas

750.112,216.7-3.41,261142.441

Utah

117.31,548.81.51,065293.730

Vermont

27.0283.7-6.91,028334.915

Virginia

291.33,765.8-3.91,285124.224

Washington

261.23,252.0-5.11,54069.13

West Virginia

52.3648.6-3.8911490.847

Wisconsin

183.12,730.0-3.71,047313.927

Wyoming

27.8255.9-4.695345-0.648

Puerto Rico

47.1856.5-3.1562(3)2.0(3)

Virgin Islands

3.634.7-14.0961(3)-8.0(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, September 15, 2021