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News Release Information

20-1011-ATL
Friday, June 12, 2020

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Technical information:
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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
Area Employment Average weekly wage (1)
December 2019 (thousands) Percent change, December 2018-19 (2) National ranking by percent change (3) Average weekly wage National ranking by level (3) Percent change, fourth quarter 2018-19 (2) National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

149,857.1 1.2 -- $1,185 -- 3.5 --

North Carolina

4,546.9 1.9 -- 1,036 28 2.4 45

Buncombe

136.4 1.4 132 917 307 2.5 246

Cabarrus

78.6 1.5 114 856 338 3.5 149

Catawba

89.2 -0.7 327 885 327 2.7 226

Cumberland

122.3 0.7 204 869 332 -0.9 350

Durham

213.4 3.0 20 1,388 41 2.2 272

Forsyth

193.6 1.9 81 1,045 194 3.5 149

Guilford

288.4 1.0 175 992 239 4.0 109

Mecklenburg

727.5 2.9 28 1,316 51 3.7 133

New Hanover

119.3 2.9 28 936 295 2.9 213

Pitt

78.2 -0.2 298 914 314 1.7 304

Wake

582.9 2.7 39 1,213 80 -3.3 352

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
Area Employment December 2019 Average weekly wage(1)

United States(2)

149,857,130 $1,185

North Carolina

4,546,869 1,036

Alamance

63,297 839

Alexander

9,463 681

Alleghany

3,143 655

Anson

6,930 712

Ashe

7,403 744

Avery

6,400 689

Beaufort

15,554 743

Bertie

5,689 680

Bladen

12,901 752

Brunswick

32,563 806

Buncombe

136,416 917

Burke

30,020 778

Cabarrus

78,590 856

Caldwell

25,504 789

Camden

1,253 761

Carteret

23,380 751

Caswell

2,977 748

Catawba

89,234 885

Chatham

15,695 799

Cherokee

7,997 701

Chowan

4,777 772

Clay

2,050 649

Cleveland

35,790 825

Columbus

15,443 719

Craven

40,229 923

Cumberland

122,301 869

Currituck

6,366 732

Dare

16,710 741

Davidson

44,455 857

Davie

13,020 804

Duplin

19,049 726

Durham

213,448 1,388

Edgecombe

15,972 761

Forsyth

193,612 1,045

Franklin

12,386 883

Gaston

74,846 849

Gates

1,608 753

Graham

1,986 734

Granville

20,898 913

Greene

4,465 738

Guilford

288,428 992

Halifax

15,621 706

Harnett

25,789 744

Haywood

17,897 748

Henderson

40,484 837

Hertford

9,205 783

Hoke

8,882 723

Hyde

1,708 711

Iredell

77,158 983

Jackson

14,354 776

Johnston

51,993 823

Jones

1,645 726

Lee

25,818 858

Lenoir

28,675 797

Lincoln

25,213 885

McDowell

15,843 740

Macon

11,354 758

Madison

4,044 716

Martin

6,578 662

Mecklenburg

727,463 1,316

Mitchell

4,655 778

Montgomery

9,330 765

Moore

37,332 844

Nash

41,298 829

New Hanover

119,265 936

Northampton

5,443 709

Onslow

49,468 734

Orange

73,128 1,226

Pamlico

3,266 666

Pasquotank

15,361 788

Pender

12,778 745

Perquimans

2,127 731

Person

9,630 804

Pitt

78,238 914

Polk

5,060 674

Randolph

45,356 760

Richmond

13,660 712

Robeson

39,615 731

Rockingham

25,116 723

Rowan

49,110 887

Rutherford

18,576 729

Sampson

18,249 795

Scotland

12,143 787

Stanly

19,474 748

Stokes

7,641 667

Surry

28,616 743

Swain

10,036 740

Transylvania

9,242 740

Tyrrell

1,111 703

Union

66,059 925

Vance

14,441 715

Wake

582,930 1,213

Warren

2,981 693

Washington

3,171 800

Watauga

24,659 749

Wayne

41,894 783

Wilkes

21,030 750

Wilson

36,901 919

Yadkin

9,782 742

Yancey

4,513 791

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
State Employment Average weekly wage (1)
December 2019 (thousands) Percent change, December 2018-19 Average weekly wage National ranking by level Percent change, fourth quarter 2018-19 National ranking by percent change

United States (2)

149,857.1 1.2 $1,185 -- 3.5 --

Alabama

2,007.9 1.0 985 36 2.6 39

Alaska

309.9 0.6 1,139 16 3.2 27

Arizona

2,999.8 2.7 1,059 23 4.1 7

Arkansas

1,232.9 0.5 898 50 3.2 27

California

17,836.3 1.5 1,457 4 4.7 4

Colorado

2,772.6 2.2 1,227 9 4.0 8

Connecticut

1,687.4 -0.7 1,383 5 3.8 11

Delaware

455.3 0.8 1,136 17 2.6 39

District of Columbia

782.5 0.8 1,992 1 2.5 42

Florida

9,085.5 2.0 1,044 26 3.6 14

Georgia

4,576.1 1.7 1,090 21 3.6 14

Hawaii

665.1 -0.8 1,053 24 3.5 17

Idaho

756.9 3.1 918 46 3.1 32

Illinois

6,043.5 0.2 1,221 10 2.7 38

Indiana

3,106.0 0.6 969 38 3.0 34

Iowa

1,560.4 0.1 984 37 1.9 47

Kansas

1,410.7 0.6 959 40 3.5 17

Kentucky

1,928.3 0.8 955 41 3.2 27

Louisiana

1,927.7 -0.5 993 34 2.5 42

Maine

620.2 0.7 955 41 5.3 2

Maryland

2,728.1 0.9 1,271 8 3.5 17

Massachusetts

3,660.8 0.9 1,511 2 3.8 11

Michigan

4,385.3 0.4 1,115 18 3.4 22

Minnesota

2,912.8 0.4 1,177 14 3.2 27

Mississippi

1,145.0 0.0 818 51 3.2 27

Missouri

2,846.2 0.9 1,010 32 3.0 34

Montana

474.1 1.1 918 46 3.4 22

Nebraska

990.9 0.7 969 38 4.2 6

Nevada

1,435.5 2.7 1,030 29 2.4 45

New Hampshire

671.3 0.8 1,192 12 2.9 37

New Jersey

4,157.4 0.8 1,332 7 2.5 42

New Mexico

844.0 1.5 942 44 4.0 8

New York

9,691.0 0.8 1,499 3 3.7 13

North Carolina

4,546.9 1.9 1,036 28 2.4 45

North Dakota

424.6 0.5 1,085 22 2.6 39

Ohio

5,477.2 0.5 1,037 27 3.1 32

Oklahoma

1,639.4 0.3 945 43 1.4 49

Oregon

1,969.3 1.6 1,100 19 4.6 5

Pennsylvania

5,985.9 0.8 1,143 15 3.6 14

Rhode Island

489.8 0.6 1,099 20 1.1 50

South Carolina

2,144.8 1.2 931 45 4.0 8

South Dakota

430.7 0.6 916 48 3.5 17

Tennessee

3,085.4 1.6 1,047 25 1.6 48

Texas

12,793.0 2.0 1,187 13 3.4 22

Utah

1,547.8 2.5 1,022 30 5.0 3

Vermont

314.0 -0.4 987 35 3.5 17

Virginia

3,978.7 1.2 1,204 11 3.4 22

Washington

3,457.7 2.2 1,370 6 6.4 1

West Virginia

690.3 -2.0 904 49 -1.4 51

Wisconsin

2,898.0 0.2 1,022 30 3.3 26

Wyoming

276.3 1.4 1,007 33 3.0 34

Puerto Rico

910.7 1.5 575 (3) -0.2 (3)

Virgin Islands

39.2 10.8 1,065 (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