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
Area Establishments,
first quarter 2021
(thousands)
Employment Average 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)

10,755.4 140,455.8 -4.5 -- $1,289 -- 5.6 --

Kentucky

130.7 1,835.2 -2.5 -- 965 41 2.3 42

Boone

5.0 96.0 -0.3 14 936 297 -1.4 324

Fayette

12.2 185.5 -3.7 111 1,017 231 3.0 232

Jefferson

27.7 452.0 -3.0 84 1,215 113 3.4 213

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
Area Employment March 2021 Average weekly wage(1)

United States(2)

140,455,819 $1,289

Kentucky

1,835,209 965

Adair

4,360 650

Allen

4,543 712

Anderson

4,775 749

Ballard

2,234 750

Barren

14,671 740

Bath

1,890 746

Bell

7,953 669

Boone

96,041 936

Bourbon

6,641 837

Boyd

23,253 970

Boyle

13,742 822

Bracken

1,277 743

Breathitt

2,587 658

Breckinridge

3,446 698

Bullitt

27,063 830

Butler

2,799 711

Caldwell

4,565 661

Calloway

14,968 733

Campbell

28,951 897

Carlisle

994 679

Carroll

6,883 1,242

Carter

5,386 672

Casey

3,844 668

Christian

30,073 855

Clark

13,779 840

Clay

3,887 721

Clinton

3,950 576

Crittenden

1,899 631

Cumberland

1,909 716

Daviess

44,210 874

Edmonson

1,486 666

Elliott

828 631

Estill

2,186 796

Fayette

185,473 1,017

Fleming

3,116 743

Floyd

10,090 750

Franklin

31,253 914

Fulton

2,045 632

Gallatin

2,460 1,057

Garrard

2,100 672

Grant

4,893 839

Graves

11,471 743

Grayson

7,353 727

Green

1,710 637

Greenup

6,601 745

Hancock

3,932 1,332

Hardin

46,416 864

Harlan

5,729 675

Harrison

4,893 872

Hart

4,719 742

Henderson

17,903 861

Henry

2,649 764

Hickman

919 624

Hopkins

15,873 841

Jackson

1,607 632

Jefferson

452,001 1,215

Jessamine

16,897 821

Johnson

4,996 686

Kenton

67,179 1,212

Knott

1,953 688

Knox

7,532 656

Larue

2,510 714

Laurel

26,799 706

Lawrence

3,706 685

Lee

1,576 690

Leslie

1,438 724

Letcher

4,123 704

Lewis

1,943 652

Lincoln

3,873 742

Livingston

2,530 922

Logan

8,599 882

Lyon

2,406 668

McCracken

37,591 889

McCreary

2,991 735

McLean

1,757 657

Madison

33,127 808

Magoffin

1,819 573

Marion

8,142 816

Marshall

10,363 999

Martin

1,914 772

Mason

7,893 825

Meade

4,133 816

Menifee

906 667

Mercer

6,084 957

Metcalfe

1,869 726

Monroe

3,082 680

Montgomery

10,020 770

Morgan

2,772 686

Muhlenberg

7,395 793

Nelson

16,045 853

Nicholas

844 555

Ohio

7,012 682

Oldham

16,192 925

Owen

1,313 799

Owsley

625 628

Pendleton

2,238 797

Perry

10,869 784

Pike

19,561 837

Powell

2,683 618

Pulaski

24,703 722

Robertson

278 670

Rockcastle

3,656 630

Rowan

9,672 728

Russell

5,458 665

Scott

27,864 946

Shelby

15,673 844

Simpson

8,758 781

Spencer

1,985 690

Taylor

12,344 682

Todd

2,270 727

Trigg

2,843 627

Trimble

1,194 1,180

Union

4,922 925

Warren

62,946 848

Washington

3,234 786

Wayne

5,792 610

Webster

2,678 843

Whitley

12,607 724

Wolfe

1,480 557

Woodford

8,782 831

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
State Establishments,
first quarter 2021
(thousands)
Employment Average 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)

10,755.4 140,455.8 -4.5 $1,289 -- 5.6 --

Alabama

135.9 1,924.3 -3.0 996 37 2.5 40

Alaska

23.3 295.0 -5.5 1,125 23 -0.6 48

Arizona

176.5 2,894.2 -2.3 1,150 21 4.8 17

Arkansas

95.3 1,194.2 -2.0 957 43 3.7 30

California

1,651.4 16,507.7 -5.9 1,623 4 11.3 1

Colorado

224.7 2,634.7 -3.5 1,335 10 4.1 25

Connecticut

128.3 1,550.5 -5.4 1,575 5 4.7 19

Delaware

35.2 425.6 -4.1 1,264 13 1.6 44

District of Columbia

44.0 708.1 -9.0 2,166 1 8.7 4

Florida

780.8 8,701.9 -3.1 1,104 24 5.1 13

Georgia

329.2 4,393.8 -2.6 1,198 17 3.6 33

Hawaii

48.0 564.4 -14.1 1,091 26 5.7 9

Idaho

74.2 768.6 1.9 906 50 4.9 15

Illinois

390.0 5,559.6 -5.5 1,387 8 6.7 7

Indiana

176.2 2,956.4 -2.5 1,026 34 3.3 37

Iowa

105.1 1,473.6 -3.3 1,004 35 2.6 39

Kansas

90.4 1,335.4 -3.3 986 39 1.9 43

Kentucky

130.7 1,835.2 -2.5 965 41 2.3 42

Louisiana

141.5 1,787.6 -5.9 977 40 1.0 46

Maine

56.2 585.0 -2.8 1,000 36 4.7 19

Maryland

174.3 2,522.1 -5.0 1,386 9 8.5 5

Massachusetts

271.2 3,334.9 -6.6 1,732 3 7.8 6

Michigan

267.5 4,026.6 -5.9 1,155 20 4.8 17

Minnesota

189.7 2,695.4 -5.1 1,290 11 4.6 22

Mississippi

75.3 1,098.4 -2.5 811 51 1.1 45

Missouri

221.8 2,705.5 -3.0 1,055 30 3.7 30

Montana

53.2 465.2 0.1 915 48 5.4 10

Nebraska

73.4 944.7 -2.8 990 38 3.6 33

Nevada

92.8 1,291.5 -8.4 1,080 27 4.7 19

New Hampshire

56.8 631.8 -3.9 1,258 15 5.4 10

New Jersey

297.0 3,818.6 -5.5 1,533 7 5.3 12

New Mexico

65.2 774.5 -7.4 958 42 3.8 28

New York

664.6 8,587.8 -8.7 1,869 2 10.4 2

North Carolina

302.7 4,423.2 -1.7 1,137 22 4.1 25

North Dakota

32.3 388.7 -6.1 1,037 32 -0.9 51

Ohio

310.1 5,136.8 -3.9 1,098 25 3.3 37

Oklahoma

114.4 1,549.7 -3.7 939 46 -0.8 50

Oregon

169.4 1,841.9 -5.2 1,172 18 6.4 8

Pennsylvania

369.7 5,531.3 -5.4 1,226 16 4.3 23

Rhode Island

41.2 447.8 -5.6 1,171 19 3.4 35

South Carolina

150.1 2,056.2 -2.6 957 43 3.8 28

South Dakota

35.6 417.1 -0.9 932 47 3.4 35

Tennessee

180.2 2,968.7 -2.1 1,077 28 5.0 14

Texas

750.1 12,216.7 -3.4 1,261 14 2.4 41

Utah

117.3 1,548.8 1.5 1,065 29 3.7 30

Vermont

27.0 283.7 -6.9 1,028 33 4.9 15

Virginia

291.3 3,765.8 -3.9 1,285 12 4.2 24

Washington

261.2 3,252.0 -5.1 1,540 6 9.1 3

West Virginia

52.3 648.6 -3.8 911 49 0.8 47

Wisconsin

183.1 2,730.0 -3.7 1,047 31 3.9 27

Wyoming

27.8 255.9 -4.6 953 45 -0.6 48

Puerto Rico

47.1 856.5 -3.1 562 (3) 2.0 (3)

Virgin Islands

3.6 34.7 -14.0 961 (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