News Release Information

17-911-ATL
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Contacts

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

County Employment and Wages in North Carolina – Fourth Quarter 2016

Employment increased in all of North Carolina’s nine large counties from December 2015 to December 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are defined as those with employment of 75,000 or more as measured by 2015 annual average employment.) Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that employment increases ranged from 3.2 percent in Wake County to 0.1 percent in Cumberland County. (See table 1.)

Nationally, employment advanced 1.2 percent from December 2015 to December 2016 as 280 of the 344 largest U.S. counties had increases. Williamson, Tenn., had the largest percentage increase, up 5.1 percent over the year. Lafayette, La., had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment, with a loss of 5.1 percent.

Among the nine largest counties in North Carolina, employment was highest in Mecklenburg County (674,200) in December 2016, while Catawba County had the smallest employment level (87,300). Together, North Carolina’s large counties accounted for 53.9 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 344 largest counties made up 72.8 percent of total U.S. employment, which stood at 143.7 million in December 2016.

Eight of North Carolina’s 9 large counties had over-the-year wage decreases in December 2016, with the largest decline in Guilford County (-3.1 percent). Only Wake County had an increase in average weekly wages, up 0.7 percent over-the-year. Durham County had the highest weekly wage among the state’s largest counties at $1,254, followed by Mecklenburg ($1,193) and Wake ($1,085). Nationally, the average weekly wage declined 1.5 percent over the year to $1,067 in the fourth quarter of 2016. (See table 1.)

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 91 counties in North Carolina with employment below 75,000. With the exception of Orange County ($1,101), wage levels in all of these smaller counties were below the U.S. average in December 2016. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

As noted, average weekly wages decreased in eight of the nine large counties in North Carolina from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the fourth quarter of 2016. The wage losses in three of the state’s large counties placed in the bottom half of the national ranking—Guilford (-3.1 percent, 275th), Forsyth (-2.2 percent, 223rd), and Cumberland (-1.8 percent, 183rd). (See table 1.)

Nationally, 290 of the 344 largest counties had over-the-year wage decreases. McLean, Ill., had the largest percentage wage decrease among the largest U.S. counties (-9.2 percent). Clay, Mo., was second with a wage decrease of -8.3 percent, followed by Lafayette, La. (-8.0 percent); Douglas, Colo. (-6.8 percent); and Passaic, N.J. (-6.0 percent).

Of the 344 largest counties, 48 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Clayton, Ga., had the largest percentage increase in average weekly wages (11.3 percent), followed by Washington, Pa. (4.9 percent); Marin, Calif. (4.3 percent); Elkhart, Ind. (4.0 percent); and San Francisco, Calif. and Champaign, Ill. (3.7 percent each).

Large county average weekly wages

Average weekly wages in three of North Carolina’s nine large counties placed in the top quarter of the national ranking in the fourth quarter of 2016. The highest paid counties—Durham, Mecklenburg, and Wake—had average weekly wages above the U.S average of $1,067 and ranked in the top 85 nationwide. Average weekly wages in the state’s six remaining large counties placed in the bottom half of the national ranking.

Nationwide, average weekly wages were at or above the U.S. average ($1,067) in 101 of the 344 largest counties in the fourth quarter of 2016. Santa Clara, Calif., had the highest average weekly wage at $2,365, followed by New York, N.Y. ($2,212); San Mateo, Calif. ($2,098); and San Francisco, Calif. ($2,068).

Among the largest U.S. counties, 243 had average weekly wages below the national average in the fourth quarter of 2016. Cameron, Texas ($640), reported the lowest weekly wage, followed by the counties of Hidalgo, Texas ($648); Horry, S.C. ($654); and Webb, Texas ($683).

Average weekly wages in North Carolina’s smaller counties

With the exception of Orange County ($1,101), all of the smaller counties in North Carolina—those with employment below 75,000—had average weekly wages lower than the national average of $1,067. Among these smaller counties, Iredell had the second-highest average weekly wage at $893, followed by Pitt at $854. Clay County and Pamlico County each had an average weekly wage of $591, the lowest in the state. (See table 2.)

When all 100 counties in North Carolina were considered, 16 had average weekly wages below $650, 56 had wages from $650 to $749, 19 had wages from $750 to $849, and 9 had wages above $850. (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 2015 edition of this publication, which was published in September 2016, contains selected data produced by Business Employment Dynamics (BED) on job gains and losses, as well as selected data from the first quarter 2016 version of the national news release. Tables and additional content from the 2015 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages are now available online at www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn15.htm. The 2016 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2017.

The County Employment and Wages release for first quarter 2017 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.

Upcoming Industry Changes to QCEW Data

Beginning with the release of first quarter 2017 data, the program will switch to the 2017 version of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) as the basis for the assignment and tabulation of economic data by industry. For more information on the change, please see the Federal Register notice at www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/federal_register_notices/notices/fr08au16.pdf.


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 9.9 million employer reports cover 143.7 million full- and part-time workers. 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 9 largest counties in North Carolina, fourth quarter 2016
Area Employment Average weekly wage (1)
December 2016 (thousands) Percent change, December 2015-16 (2) National ranking by percent change (3) Average weekly wage National ranking by level (3) Percent change, fourth quarter 2015-16 (2) National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

143,749.9 1.2 -- $1,067 -- -1.5 --

North Carolina

4,326.3 1.8 -- 932 28 -0.7 13

Buncombe, N.C.

130.3 3.1 32 837 302 -0.7 95

Catawba, N.C.

87.3 3.1 32 818 310 -1.3 144

Cumberland, N.C.

120.4 0.1 268 799 320 -1.8 183

Durham, N.C.

198.7 1.2 172 1,254 39 -1.6 168

Forsyth, N.C.

184.8 0.4 250 953 183 -2.2 223

Guilford, N.C.

283.9 0.8 211 898 243 -3.1 275

Mecklenburg, N.C.

674.2 2.1 98 1,193 56 -0.7 95

New Hanover, N.C.

110.5 2.7 58 865 276 -0.2 60

Wake, N.C.

541.5 3.2 28 1,085 85 0.7 25

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 2016
Area Employment December 2016 Average Weekly Wage(1)

United States(2)

143,749,910 $1,067

North Carolina

4,326,302 932

Alamance

61,583 762

Alexander

8,994 644

Alleghany

3,166 600

Anson

7,244 646

Ashe

7,282 675

Avery

6,439 621

Beaufort

16,425 707

Bertie

6,275 613

Bladen

12,886 688

Brunswick

30,384 737

Buncombe

130,323 837

Burke

29,597 710

Cabarrus

77,738 802

Caldwell

24,674 724

Camden

1,414 719

Carteret

22,696 659

Caswell

3,039 657

Catawba

87,283 818

Chatham

14,683 743

Cherokee

8,051 640

Chowan

4,605 718

Clay

1,977 591

Cleveland

34,882 762

Columbus

15,564 675

Craven

40,090 843

Cumberland

120,383 799

Currituck

5,854 701

Dare

16,477 666

Davidson

43,848 766

Davie

12,804 685

Duplin

20,180 655

Durham

198,666 1,254

Edgecombe

16,869 701

Forsyth

184,785 953

Franklin

11,844 793

Gaston

71,207 760

Gates

1,508 669

Graham

1,947 651

Granville

21,209 834

Greene

4,220 668

Guilford

283,907 898

Halifax

15,813 659

Harnett

25,105 695

Haywood

17,319 697

Henderson

37,120 756

Hertford

9,157 691

Hoke

8,469 665

Hyde

1,752 634

Iredell

72,417 893

Jackson

13,241 711

Johnston

47,237 762

Jones

1,725 712

Lee

26,485 764

Lenoir

28,129 724

Lincoln

22,576 772

McDowell

16,000 687

Macon

10,987 674

Madison

3,846 651

Martin

7,139 602

Mecklenburg

674,213 1,193

Mitchell

4,730 664

Montgomery

9,409 688

Moore

35,339 775

Nash

41,194 749

New Hanover

110,521 865

Northampton

5,376 679

Onslow

48,138 679

Orange

71,632 1,101

Pamlico

3,253 591

Pasquotank

15,873 708

Pender

11,275 682

Perquimans

2,104 639

Person

10,213 740

Pitt

76,477 854

Polk

5,034 599

Randolph

45,347 701

Richmond

13,593 669

Robeson

39,318 664

Rockingham

26,705 675

Rowan

47,561 812

Rutherford

18,349 668

Sampson

18,349 714

Scotland

11,775 713

Stanly

19,223 677

Stokes

7,172 597

Surry

28,545 680

Swain

10,000 666

Transylvania

8,686 683

Tyrrell

1,111 638

Union

62,615 842

Vance

15,374 677

Wake

541,477 1,085

Warren

3,234 603

Washington

3,404 739

Watauga

23,696 704

Wayne

42,471 719

Wilkes

22,270 669

Wilson

37,367 804

Yadkin

10,159 660

Yancey

3,750 620

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 2016
State Employment Average weekly wage (1)
December 2016 (thousands) Percent change, December 2015-16 Average weekly wage National ranking by level Percent change, fourth quarter 2015-16 National ranking by percent change

United States (2)

143,749.9 1.2 $1,067 -- -1.5 --

Alabama

1,932.6 0.7 901 35 -1.3 21

Alaska

310.0 -1.9 1,038 17 -5.2 51

Arizona

2,760.1 2.1 945 25 -2.2 34

Arkansas

1,205.4 0.4 827 47 -1.4 22

California

16,923.3 1.9 1,271 5 -0.3 4

Colorado

2,588.6 2.0 1,086 12 -1.5 24

Connecticut

1,685.5 0.0 1,289 4 -3.4 46

Delaware

441.2 -0.1 1,055 15 -2.9 44

District of Columbia

760.9 0.5 1,763 1 0.6 2

Florida

8,538.9 2.7 942 27 -1.8 28

Georgia

4,349.3 2.4 993 20 -0.9 14

Hawaii

658.3 0.7 954 24 -0.3 4

Idaho

691.6 3.2 800 50 -0.4 8

Illinois

5,947.6 0.4 1,122 9 -2 31

Indiana

3,021.7 0.9 883 38 -0.9 14

Iowa

1,542.0 0.1 911 33 -1 16

Kansas

1,384.5 0.1 877 39 -2.2 34

Kentucky

1,894.2 0.6 874 41 -1.4 22

Louisiana

1,907.4 -1.6 914 32 -2.9 44

Maine

602.6 0.8 855 43 -2.1 33

Maryland

2,666.7 1.0 1,169 7 -0.4 8

Massachusetts

3,530.4 1.3 1,352 2 -2.4 39

Michigan

4,283.0 1.5 1,026 19 -1.6 25

Minnesota

2,839.7 1.2 1,062 14 -1.1 18

Mississippi

1,134.0 0.0 756 51 -1.8 28

Missouri

2,783.2 0.9 918 31 -1.7 27

Montana

456.5 0.7 822 48 0.5 3

Nebraska

972.4 0.0 876 40 -0.5 10

Nevada

1,307.8 2.7 924 29 -1.2 20

New Hampshire

656.9 1.3 1,092 10 -4.1 48

New Jersey

4,042.1 1.4 1,239 6 -1.9 30

New Mexico

811.4 0.0 844 45 -2.5 41

New York

9,332.5 1.2 1,342 3 -2.3 36

North Carolina

4,326.3 1.8 932 28 -0.7 13

North Dakota

414.4 -3.2 978 21 -4.2 49

Ohio

5,365.6 0.7 943 26 -2.3 36

Oklahoma

1,587.7 -1.2 864 42 -3.5 47

Oregon

1,860.7 2.4 970 22 -1 16

Pennsylvania

5,799.8 0.7 1,039 16 -2.3 36

Rhode Island

478.3 0.0 1,027 18 -1.6 25

South Carolina

2,024.3 1.8 855 43 -0.6 12

South Dakota

419.9 0.5 828 46 -0.5 10

Tennessee

2,947.5 1.8 970 22 -1.1 18

Texas

11,974.7 1.2 1,072 13 -2.5 41

Utah

1,415.1 2.9 910 34 -0.3 4

Vermont

312.6 0.1 897 36 -2.4 39

Virginia

3,831.6 0.6 1,091 11 -0.3 4

Washington

3,227.9 2.8 1,150 8 1.7 1

West Virginia

693.1 -1.6 809 49 -2.5 41

Wisconsin

2,842.4 0.5 924 29 -2 31

Wyoming

265.8 -3.9 894 37 -4.7 50

Puerto Rico

928.2 -0.3 555 (3) -1.9 (3)

Virgin Islands

38.5 0.2 769 (3) -1.8 (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, June 28, 2017