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18-1045-ATL
Wednesday, June 20, 2018

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County Employment and Wages in North Carolina – Fourth Quarter 2017

Eight of the nine large counties in North Carolina reported employment gains from December 2016 to December 2017, 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 2016 annual average employment.) Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that employment increases ranged from 2.9 percent in Wake County to 0.4 percent in Cumberland County. Guilford County had a decrease in employment, down 0.6 percent over-the-year. (See table 1.)

Nationally, employment advanced 1.5 percent from December 2016 to December 2017 as 316 of the 346 largest U.S. counties registered increases. Midland, Texas, had the largest percentage increase with a gain of 11.5 percent over the year. Shawnee, Kan., and Caddo, La., had the largest over-the-year percentage decreases in employment among the largest counties in the U.S., with losses of 1.8 percent each. 

Among the nine largest counties in North Carolina, employment was highest in Mecklenburg (693,500) in December 2017, while Catawba had the smallest employment level (88,700). Together, North Carolina’s large counties accounted for 54.0 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 346 largest counties made up 73.0 percent of total U.S. employment, which stood at 145.9 million in December 2017. 

Each of North Carolina’s nine large counties had over-the-year wage increases in the fourth quarter of 2017, with the largest increase in Guilford (5.3 percent). Durham County had the highest weekly wage among the state’s largest counties at $1,286, followed by Mecklenburg ($1,232), Wake ($1,117), and Forsyth ($1,005). Nationally, the average weekly wage increased 3.9 percent over the year to $1,109 in the fourth quarter of 2017. (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 ($1,135), wage levels in all of these smaller counties were below the U.S. average in December 2017. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

As noted, average weekly wages increased in all of the nine large counties in North Carolina from the fourth quarter of 2016 to the fourth quarter of 2017. The wage gains in four of the state’s large counties placed in the top half of the national ranking: Guilford (5.3 percent, 26th), Cumberland (3.5 percent, 122nd), Forsyth (3.3 percent, 141st), and Mecklenburg (3.2 percent, 151st). (See table 1.)

Among the 346 largest U.S. counties, 339 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. San Mateo, Calif., and Ada, Idaho, had the largest percentage wage increases among the largest U.S. counties (11.5 percent each). New York, N.Y., followed with an increase of 10.4 percent. 

Of the 346 largest U.S. counties, 7 had over-the-year wage decreases. Clayton, Ga., had the largest percentage decrease in average weekly wages (-6.7 percent), followed by Champaign, Ill. (-1.6 percent); and Benton, Ark. (-1.4 percent). 

Large county average weekly wages

Durham ($1,286, 42nd), Mecklenburg ($1,232, 56th), and Wake ($1,117, 89th) Counties had average weekly wages above the U.S average of $1,109 and ranked in the top 100 nationwide. Average weekly wages in Forsyth County ($1,005) ranked 171st, while the state’s five remaining large counties placed in the bottom half of the national ranking.  

Nationwide, average weekly wages were above the U.S. average ($1,109) in 95 of the 346 largest counties in the fourth quarter of 2017. Santa Clara, Calif., recorded the highest average weekly wage at $2,576, followed by New York, N.Y. ($2,439); San Mateo, Calif. ($2,341); and San Francisco, Calif. ($2,232). 

Among the largest U.S. counties, 251 had weekly wages below the national average in the fourth quarter of 2017. Cameron, Texas ($652) reported the lowest wage, followed by the counties of Hidalgo, Texas ($664); Horry, S.C. ($674); and Webb, Texas ($706).

Average weekly wages in North Carolina’s smaller counties

With the exception of Orange County ($1,135), all of the smaller counties in North Carolina—those with employment below 75,000—had average weekly wages lower than the national average of $1,109. Among these smaller counties, Iredell had the second-highest average weekly wage at $920, followed by Union at $882. Alleghany County had the lowest average weekly wage in the state at $611. (See table 2.) 

When all 100 counties in North Carolina were considered, 11 had average weekly wages below $650, 54 had wages from $650 to $749, 21 had wages from $750 to $849, and 14 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 2016 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 2017 version of the national news release. Tables and additional content from Employment and Wages Annual Averages 2016 are now available online at www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn16.htm. The 2017 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2018.

The County Employment and Wages release for first quarter 2018 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, August 22, 2018.


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 10.0 million employer reports cover 145.9 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.

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 2017
Area Employment Average weekly wage (1)
December 2017 (thousands) Percent change, December 2016-17 (2) National ranking by percent change (3) Average weekly wage National ranking by level (3) Percent change, fourth quarter 2016-17 (2) National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

145,921.1 1.5 -- $1,109 -- 3.9 --

North Carolina

4,388.6 1.5 -- 964 28 3.3 22

Buncombe, N.C.

132.2 1.2 167 851 307 1.8 288

Catawba, N.C.

88.7 1.8 102 841 311 2.6 213

Cumberland, N.C.

120.6 0.4 281 829 321 3.5 122

Durham, N.C.

201.9 1.0 196 1,286 42 2.6 213

Forsyth, N.C.

186.8 0.5 275 1,005 171 3.3 141

Guilford, N.C.

282.1 -0.6 332 946 222 5.3 26

Mecklenburg, N.C.

693.5 2.8 48 1,232 56 3.2 151

New Hanover, N.C.

111.6 1.6 121 875 291 1.0 317

Wake, N.C.

553.5 2.9 38 1,117 89 2.5 227

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 2017
Area Employment December 2017 Average weekly wage(1)

United States(2)

145,921,109 $1,109

North Carolina

4,388,560 964

Alamance

61,682 781

Alexander

9,231 661

Alleghany

3,089 611

Anson

7,145 662

Ashe

7,295 712

Avery

6,453 641

Beaufort

16,046 734

Bertie

5,877 640

Bladen

12,900 709

Brunswick

31,316 755

Buncombe

132,176 851

Burke

29,508 735

Cabarrus

82,058 793

Caldwell

24,961 736

Camden

1,323 734

Carteret

22,987 684

Caswell

3,080 684

Catawba

88,659 841

Chatham

14,969 768

Cherokee

8,066 664

Chowan

4,652 748

Clay

1,923 630

Cleveland

35,293 785

Columbus

15,108 687

Craven

39,345 863

Cumberland

120,561 829

Currituck

5,993 725

Dare

16,626 681

Davidson

43,555 805

Davie

12,909 705

Duplin

18,960 687

Durham

201,889 1,286

Edgecombe

16,413 711

Forsyth

186,785 1,005

Franklin

12,180 844

Gaston

74,039 797

Gates

1,456 685

Graham

1,885 685

Granville

21,658 852

Greene

4,260 695

Guilford

282,095 946

Halifax

15,639 670

Harnett

25,292 700

Haywood

17,604 721

Henderson

38,041 786

Hertford

9,065 719

Hoke

8,456 689

Hyde

1,734 612

Iredell

72,580 920

Jackson

13,526 729

Johnston

48,458 796

Jones

1,694 721

Lee

26,139 806

Lenoir

28,649 752

Lincoln

22,725 805

McDowell

16,089 721

Macon

11,023 678

Madison

3,833 695

Martin

6,989 621

Mecklenburg

693,519 1,232

Mitchell

4,626 714

Montgomery

9,489 727

Moore

35,062 801

Nash

40,599 770

New Hanover

111,578 875

Northampton

5,348 694

Onslow

49,357 687

Orange

70,946 1,135

Pamlico

3,253 617

Pasquotank

15,813 728

Pender

11,451 694

Perquimans

2,094 675

Person

9,928 771

Pitt

77,150 866

Polk

4,946 628

Randolph

44,938 720

Richmond

13,654 671

Robeson

38,942 680

Rockingham

25,472 694

Rowan

48,472 856

Rutherford

18,229 671

Sampson

18,271 756

Scotland

11,900 740

Stanly

19,509 693

Stokes

7,464 616

Surry

29,112 714

Swain

9,546 648

Transylvania

8,740 709

Tyrrell

1,100 652

Union

64,244 882

Vance

14,956 689

Wake

553,542 1,117

Warren

3,076 642

Washington

3,363 750

Watauga

23,592 709

Wayne

42,211 726

Wilkes

22,535 698

Wilson

36,808 838

Yadkin

9,852 692

Yancey

3,672 653

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 2017
State Employment Average weekly wage (1)
December 2017 (thousands) Percent change, December 2016-17 Average weekly wage National ranking by level Percent change, fourth quarter 2016-17 National ranking by percent change

United States (2)

145,921.1 1.5 $1,109 -- 3.9 --

Alabama

1,955.3 1.1 928 36 2.9 32

Alaska

306.7 -1.2 1,052 19 1.5 51

Arizona

2,834.7 2.6 978 25 3.5 12

Arkansas

1,217.2 1.0 848 48 2.5 42

California

17,293.0 2.1 1,346 4 5.7 4

Colorado

2,653.3 2.5 1,133 10 4.3 9

Connecticut

1,689.7 0.3 1,317 5 2.2 46

Delaware

444.9 0.6 1,081 15 2.6 40

District of Columbia

769.0 0.9 1,812 1 2.7 37

Florida

8,712.0 2.0 975 26 3.4 16

Georgia

4,425.0 1.8 1,027 20 3.4 16

Hawaii

664.5 0.8 984 24 3.1 26

Idaho

712.4 3.0 857 46 7.1 1

Illinois

6,001.1 0.8 1,151 9 2.6 40

Indiana

3,057.8 1.1 915 38 3.6 11

Iowa

1,549.7 0.4 938 32 3.0 28

Kansas

1,390.3 0.4 894 41 1.9 49

Kentucky

1,903.8 0.5 892 42 2.1 47

Louisiana

1,918.8 0.4 933 35 2.1 47

Maine

610.3 1.2 884 43 3.4 16

Maryland

2,683.6 0.5 1,207 8 3.3 22

Massachusetts

3,582.2 1.3 1,411 3 4.4 8

Michigan

4,321.8 0.9 1,062 17 3.4 16

Minnesota

2,875.7 1.3 1,100 14 3.4 16

Mississippi

1,140.6 0.5 774 51 2.4 45

Missouri

2,809.5 1.0 945 31 2.9 32

Montana

461.4 1.0 843 50 2.7 37

Nebraska

980.9 0.9 901 39 3.0 28

Nevada

1,351.9 3.5 955 29 3.2 25

New Hampshire

661.3 0.7 1,132 11 3.7 10

New Jersey

4,106.9 1.6 1,262 6 1.8 50

New Mexico

816.7 0.6 865 45 2.5 42

New York

9,465.3 1.4 1,428 2 6.4 2

North Carolina

4,388.6 1.5 964 28 3.3 22

North Dakota

416.1 0.4 1,010 22 3.3 22

Ohio

5,409.2 0.8 973 27 3.1 26

Oklahoma

1,607.8 1.2 895 40 3.5 12

Oregon

1,900.4 2.0 1,014 21 4.5 7

Pennsylvania

5,870.4 1.2 1,075 16 3.5 12

Rhode Island

483.6 1.1 1,056 18 2.7 37

South Carolina

2,058.8 1.6 879 44 2.8 35

South Dakota

423.8 0.9 856 47 3.4 16

Tennessee

2,984.8 1.3 1,000 23 3.0 28

Texas

12,207.8 2.0 1,109 13 3.5 12

Utah

1,465.5 3.6 936 33 2.9 32

Vermont

314.7 0.5 919 37 2.5 42

Virginia

3,884.2 1.3 1,121 12 2.8 35

Washington

3,305.0 2.4 1,217 7 5.8 3

West Virginia

693.1 0.1 847 49 4.7 5

Wisconsin

2,872.6 1.0 951 30 3.0 28

Wyoming

267.5 0.6 935 34 4.6 6

Puerto Rico

887.0 -4.4 570 (3) 2.5 (3)

Virgin Islands

34.3 -11.1 827 (3) 7.7 (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 20, 2018