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19-953-ATL
Tuesday, July 02, 2019

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County Employment and Wages in North Carolina – Fourth Quarter 2018

Employment in 10 of North Carolina’s 11 large counties increased from December 2017 to December 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are defined as those with 2017 average annual employment levels of 75,000 or more.) Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that employment increases ranged from 3.0 percent in Durham County to 0.6 percent in Guilford County. (See table 1.)

Nationally, employment advanced 1.5 percent from December 2017 to December 2018 as 296 of the 349 largest U.S. counties had increases. Midland, TX, had the largest over-the-year increase in employment with a gain of 10.0 percent. Bay, FL, had the largest over-the-year decrease in employment with a loss of 5.6 percent.

Among the 11 largest counties in North Carolina, employment was highest in Mecklenburg County (706,600) in December 2018, while Pitt County had the smallest employment level (78,700). Together, North Carolina’s large counties accounted for 57.7 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 349 largest counties made up 73.2 percent of total U.S. employment, which stood at 148.1 million in December 2018.

Each of North Carolina’s 11 large counties had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages in the fourth quarter of 2018, with the largest increase in Wake County (11.9 percent). Durham County had the highest weekly wage among the state’s largest counties at $1,357, followed by Mecklenburg ($1,271), and Wake ($1,252). Nationally, the average weekly wage increased 3.2 percent over the year to $1,144. (See table 1.)

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 89 counties in North Carolina with 2017 average annual employment levels below 75,000. Average weekly wages in these counties ranged from $1,186 to $631. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

In the fourth quarter of 2018, 8 of the 11 large North Carolina counties had over-the-year average weekly wage gains that were at or above the 3.2-percent national average. Four of these counties placed in the top 50 of the national ranking: Wake (11.9 percent, 4th), Cumberland (6.8 percent, 15th), Durham (5.4 percent, 37th), and Buncombe (5.2 percent, 47th). (See table 1.)

Nationally, 332 of the 349 largest counties had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Tippecanoe, IN, had the largest over-the-year wage gain at 15.1 percent, followed by Williamson, TN (13.1 percent) and Olmsted, MN (13.0 percent).

Of the 349 largest U.S. counties, 15 had over-the-year wage decreases. Washington, PA, had the largest percentage decrease in average weekly wages (-6.6 percent), followed by Elkhart IN (-5.0 percent).

 

Large county average weekly wages

Among North Carolina’s large counties, Durham ($1,357, 37th), Mecklenburg ($1,271, 52nd), and Wake ($1,252, 57th), had average weekly wages above the U.S average of $1,144 and ranked in the top 75 nationwide. Average weekly wages in the state’s eight remaining large counties placed in the bottom half of the national ranking.

Nationwide, average weekly wages were above the U.S. average ($1,144) in 94 of the 349 largest counties in the fourth quarter of 2018. Santa Clara, CA, recorded the highest average weekly wage at $2,670, followed by San Francisco, CA ($2,452); San Mateo, CA ($2,410); and New York, NY ($2,400).

Among the largest U.S. counties, 255 had weekly wages below the national average in the fourth quarter of 2018. Hidalgo, TX ($680) had the lowest wage, followed by the counties of Cameron, TX, and Horry, SC ($685 each).

Average weekly wages in North Carolina’s smaller counties

With the exception of Orange County ($1,186), counties in North Carolina with 2017 average annual employment levels below 75,000 had average weekly wages lower than the national average of $1,144. Among these smaller counties, Martin had the lowest average weekly wage in state, averaging $631 in the fourth quarter of 2018. (See table 2.)

When all 100 counties in North Carolina were considered, 18 had average weekly wages below $699, 52 had wages from $700 to $799, 20 had wages from $800 to $899, 5 had wages from $900 to $999, and 5 had wages above $1,000 in the fourth quarter of 2018. (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 2017 edition of this publication contains selected data produced by Business Employment Dynamics (BED) on job gains and losses, as well as selected data from the first quarter 2018 version of the national news release. Tables and additional content from Employment and Wages Annual Averages 2017 are now available online at www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn17.htm. The 2018 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2019.

The County Employment and Wages release for first quarter 2019 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, August 21, 2019. The County Employment and Wages full data update for first quarter 2019 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.

BLS Local Data App Now Available for Android Devices

The BLS Local Data app, first released for iPhones last fall, is now available for Android devices. Search using your current location, a zip code, or a location name to find employment and wage data for detailed industries and occupations. BLS continues to partner with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Chief Information Officer to expand the features and data in the app. For more information please visit: https://beta.bls.gov/labs/blogs/2019/04/17/bls-local-data-app-now-available-for-android-devices/.


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 2018
Area Employment Average weekly wage (1)
December 2018 (thousands) Percent change, December 2017-18 (2) National ranking by percent change (3) Average weekly wage National ranking by level (3) Percent change, fourth quarter 2017-18 (2) National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

148,061.8 1.5 -- $1,144 -- 3.2 --

North Carolina

4,458.9 1.6 -- 1,013 26 5.1 6

Buncombe, NC

134.3 1.9 86 896 301 5.2 47

Cabarrus, NC

80.4 2.7 36 813 333 3.2 155

Catawba, NC

89.5 1.3 149 862 319 2.3 236

Cumberland, NC

121.2 -0.1 303 879 308 6.8 15

Durham, NC

207.9 3.0 28 1,357 37 5.4 37

Forsyth, NC

188.8 0.9 185 1,010 191 0.4 325

Guilford, NC

284.5 0.6 227 961 235 1.7 279

Mecklenburg, NC

706.6 2.1 69 1,271 52 3.5 128

New Hanover, NC

115.6 2.2 60 912 284 4.1 84

Pitt, NC

78.7 2.2 60 900 298 4.5 69

Wake, NC

566.6 1.6 126 1,252 57 11.9 4

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 2018
Area Employment December 2018 Average Weekly Wage(1)

United States(2)

148,061,773 $1,144

North Carolina

4,458,862 1,013

Alamance

62,248 802

Alexander

9,264 682

Alleghany

3,025 656

Anson

7,287 694

Ashe

7,180 710

Avery

6,357 677

Beaufort

15,638 748

Bertie

5,844 648

Bladen

13,264 714

Brunswick

31,691 797

Buncombe

134,338 896

Burke

29,306 764

Cabarrus

80,379 813

Caldwell

25,163 778

Camden

1,197 761

Carteret

22,813 724

Caswell

3,073 749

Catawba

89,543 862

Chatham

15,076 784

Cherokee

7,999 689

Chowan

4,715 771

Clay

2,034 633

Cleveland

35,292 807

Columbus

14,968 720

Craven

39,239 885

Cumberland

121,222 879

Currituck

6,324 761

Dare

16,566 708

Davidson

44,079 812

Davie

12,984 745

Duplin

18,952 728

Durham

207,942 1,357

Edgecombe

16,525 752

Forsyth

188,808 1,010

Franklin

12,608 940

Gaston

76,326 843

Gates

1,521 711

Graham

2,048 754

Granville

21,182 895

Greene

4,199 719

Guilford

284,543 961

Halifax

15,680 708

Harnett

25,392 726

Haywood

17,726 741

Henderson

38,770 818

Hertford

9,177 764

Hoke

8,593 694

Hyde

1,735 710

Iredell

74,766 947

Jackson

13,899 746

Johnston

49,667 815

Jones

1,943 741

Lee

26,179 830

Lenoir

28,826 783

Lincoln

23,348 828

McDowell

15,829 727

Macon

11,184 689

Madison

3,807 698

Martin

6,619 631

Mecklenburg

706,634 1,271

Mitchell

4,624 778

Montgomery

9,115 756

Moore

36,533 810

Nash

41,462 804

New Hanover

115,639 912

Northampton

5,308 739

Onslow

48,680 708

Orange

72,142 1,186

Pamlico

3,253 668

Pasquotank

15,365 794

Pender

11,772 747

Perquimans

2,232 679

Person

9,645 827

Pitt

78,667 900

Polk

4,888 665

Randolph

45,028 744

Richmond

13,578 687

Robeson

39,350 713

Rockingham

25,260 705

Rowan

49,303 876

Rutherford

18,459 710

Sampson

18,539 765

Scotland

11,958 761

Stanly

19,167 731

Stokes

7,599 654

Surry

29,245 748

Swain

9,779 711

Transylvania

8,870 720

Tyrrell

1,066 668

Union

64,696 896

Vance

14,361 708

Wake

566,596 1,252

Warren

3,003 661

Washington

3,247 780

Watauga

24,058 721

Wayne

41,967 767

Wilkes

21,785 723

Wilson

36,429 886

Yadkin

9,975 727

Yancey

4,418 753

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 2018
State Employment Average weekly wage (1)
December 2018 (thousands) Percent change, December 2017-18 Average weekly wage National ranking by level Percent change, fourth quarter 2017-18 National ranking by percent change

United States (2)

148,061.8 1.5 $1,144 -- 3.2 --

Alabama

1,986.6 1.6 957 36 3.1 33

Alaska

308.3 0.4 1,103 16 4.9 7

Arizona

2,921.1 3.0 1,017 24 4.1 11

Arkansas

1,227.0 0.8 869 50 2.4 43

California

17,556.7 1.7 1,392 4 3.3 26

Colorado

2,713.7 2.2 1,180 10 4.1 11

Connecticut

1,697.9 0.5 1,334 5 1.3 49

Delaware

451.2 1.1 1,107 15 2.4 43

District of Columbia

775.1 0.6 1,943 1 7.3 2

Florida

8,902.7 2.1 1,006 27 3.1 33

Georgia

4,499.8 1.8 1,053 21 2.4 43

Hawaii

669.3 0.6 1,016 25 3.3 26

Idaho

734.4 3.2 890 47 3.6 20

Illinois

6,026.0 0.3 1,189 9 3.3 26

Indiana

3,086.2 0.9 941 38 2.8 37

Iowa

1,558.4 0.5 966 35 3.0 35

Kansas

1,402.2 0.8 927 41 3.7 18

Kentucky

1,914.0 0.3 924 42 3.2 30

Louisiana

1,934.1 0.7 968 34 3.8 15

Maine

618.4 1.3 906 44 2.5 41

Maryland

2,702.5 0.8 1,228 8 1.7 48

Massachusetts

3,620.3 1.0 1,457 2 3.3 26

Michigan

4,366.5 1.0 1,077 19 1.3 49

Minnesota

2,902.3 0.9 1,140 14 3.6 20

Mississippi

1,144.3 0.2 793 51 2.5 41

Missouri

2,821.3 0.5 980 31 3.6 20

Montana

468.8 1.6 888 48 5.2 5

Nebraska

983.0 0.2 930 40 3.2 30

Nevada

1,397.4 3.3 1,006 27 5.3 4

New Hampshire

666.0 0.7 1,158 12 2.3 46

New Jersey

4,125.6 0.8 1,298 6 2.7 38

New Mexico

830.2 1.5 905 45 4.6 9

New York

9,613.2 1.5 1,445 3 1.0 51

North Carolina

4,458.9 1.6 1,013 26 5.1 6

North Dakota

422.3 1.5 1,057 20 4.7 8

Ohio

5,442.9 0.5 1,006 27 3.4 24

Oklahoma

1,632.3 1.5 932 39 4.1 11

Oregon

1,935.8 1.7 1,052 22 3.7 18

Pennsylvania

5,932.5 1.0 1,103 16 2.6 39

Rhode Island

487.2 0.8 1,085 18 2.6 39

South Carolina

2,119.6 2.8 893 46 1.9 47

South Dakota

428.4 1.2 885 49 3.4 24

Tennessee

3,039.8 1.8 1,030 23 3.0 35

Texas

12,531.7 2.5 1,148 13 3.5 23

Utah

1,511.5 3.2 972 33 3.8 15

Vermont

314.2 -0.4 954 37 3.2 30

Virginia

3,927.2 1.1 1,164 11 3.8 15

Washington

3,384.2 2.4 1,292 7 6.3 3

West Virginia

704.2 1.5 917 43 8.3 1

Wisconsin

2,892.3 0.6 989 30 4.0 14

Wyoming

272.1 1.8 978 32 4.4 10

Puerto Rico

896.4 0.8 576 (3) 0.9 (3)

Virgin Islands

34.5 0.5 925 (3) 2.3 (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: Tuesday, July 02, 2019