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18-984-DAL
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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County Employment and Wages in Arkansas – Fourth Quarter 2017

Employment increased in the three largest Arkansas counties from December 2016 to December 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are those with 2016 annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more.) Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Stanley W. Suchman noted that Washington County’s 2.6-percent rate of job growth exceeded the 1.5-percent national rate and ranked 56th among the 346 large U.S. counties. In contrast, rates of job growth in two large Arkansas counties were below the national average, with Benton County’s 1.3-percent job gain ranked 158th nationwide and Pulaski County’s 0.9-percent gain ranked 215th. (See table 1.)

Nationally, 316 of the 346 largest U.S. counties registered increases from December 2016 to December 2017. Midland, Texas, recorded the largest percentage increase in the country, up 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 three largest counties in Arkansas, employment was highest in Pulaski County (253,200) in December 2017. Benton and Washington Counties had employment levels of 119,700 and 107,400, respectively. Together, the three largest Arkansas counties accounted for 39.5 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 346 largest counties made up 73.0 percent of total U.S. employment.

From the fourth quarter of 2016 to the fourth quarter of 2017, Washington County had the largest percentage increase in average weekly wages among Arkansas’s large counties, up 5.5 percent. (See table 1.) Benton recorded the highest average weekly wage among the state’s large counties at $1,008, followed closely by Washington County at $1,002. Nationally, the average weekly wage increased 3.9 percent from a year ago, rising to $1,109 in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 72 counties in Arkansas with employment levels below 75,000. Wage levels in all of these smaller counties were below the national average in December 2017. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

As noted, average weekly wages in Washington County increased 5.5 percent, above the national increase of 3.9 percent and ranked 18th among the 346 largest U.S. counties. (See table 1.) Pulaski County’s 2.1-percent wage increase placed 264th. In contrast, Benton had an over-the-year wage decline of 1.4 percent, ranking 344th among the 346 largest U.S. counties.

Among the 346 large U.S. counties, 339 had over-the-year wage increases. San Mateo, Calif., and Ada, Idaho, had the largest over-the-year percentage increases in average weekly wages, with gains of 11.5 percent each. Seven large U.S. counties had over-the-year wage decreases. Clayton, Ga., had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in average weekly wages (-6.7 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Average weekly wage levels in the state’s three large counties were below the nationwide average ($1,109) in the fourth quarter of 2017. Benton County's average weekly wage of $1,008 ranked 167th among the 346 large U.S. counties. Weekly wages in Washington and Pulaski Counties, at $1,002 and $971, respectively, ranked 173rd and 197th nationally.

Of the 346 large U.S. counties, 251 reported average weekly wages below the national average of $1,109. Cameron, Texas, reported the lowest weekly wage ($652), followed by Hidalgo, Texas ($664) and Horry, S.C. ($674).

Nationally, 95 large counties registered average weekly wages above the U.S. average in the fourth quarter of 2017. Santa Clara, Calif., held the top position with an average weekly wage of $2,576. New York, N.Y., was second at $2,439, followed by San Mateo, Calif., at $2,341. Average weekly wages in the highest-ranked county, Santa Clara, Calif., were nearly four times the average weekly wage in the lowest-ranked county, Cameron, Texas ($652).

Average weekly wages in Arkansas’s smaller counties

All 72 of Arkansas’s smaller counties – those with employment of less than 75,000 – reported weekly wages below the national average of $1,109 in the fourth quarter of 2017. Among these smaller counties, the highest weekly wages were in Calhoun ($1,034) and Little River ($929), while the lowest weekly wage was in Newton ($490). (See table 2.)

When all 75 counties in Arkansas were considered, 8 reported average weekly wages under $600, 31 reported wages from $600 to $699, 25 had wages from $700 to $799, and 11 averaged $800 or more per week. (See chart 1.) Higher-paying counties were generally located around the metropolitan areas of Blytheville, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Little Rock, Texarkana, and along the southern border of the state. Lower-paying counties were generally concentrated along the northern border of the state.

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 Online are now available at www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn16.htm.

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

QCEW Publication Acceleration and Conversion to Two Data Releases

The national QCEW publication process has accelerated for a more timely release. Beginning with the national fourth quarter 2017 release, QCEW data are now published in two parts. The current County Employment and Wages news release and associated data have been accelerated and published first. The full QCEW data release, with smaller county data contained in this release, occurs two weeks later.


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. Thus, wages may vary among counties, metropolitan areas, or states for reasons other than changes in the average wage level.

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 3 largest counties in Arkansas, fourth quarter 2017
AreaEmploymentAverage 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)

145,921.11.5--$1,109--3.9--

Arkansas

1,217.21.0--848482.542

Benton, Ark.

119.71.31581,008167-1.4344

Pulaski, Ark.

253.20.92159711972.1264

Washington, Ark.

107.42.6561,0021735.518

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 Arkansas, 4th quarter 2017
AreaEmployment
December
2017
Average
weekly
wage(1)

United States(2)

145,921,109$1,109

Arkansas

1,217,172848

Arkansas

9,723820

Ashley

6,691834

Baxter

15,169708

Benton

119,6611,008

Boone

14,008751

Bradley

3,868672

Calhoun

2,9651,034

Carroll

10,804600

Chicot

3,130652

Clark

9,408660

Clay

3,329602

Cleburne

6,383657

Cleveland

1,027615

Columbia

8,012781

Conway

6,438742

Craighead

51,417757

Crawford

19,574721

Crittenden

16,672715

Cross

4,869674

Dallas

2,687654

Desha

4,781671

Drew

6,642705

Faulkner

40,609774

Franklin

4,643719

Fulton

1,944589

Garland

36,486735

Grant

4,131757

Greene

15,252728

Hempstead

7,909719

Hot Spring

8,532715

Howard

7,280644

Independence

16,027758

Izard

3,083628

Jackson

5,163704

Jefferson

27,903805

Johnson

8,823641

Lafayette

1,219668

Lawrence

4,051650

Lee

1,946652

Lincoln

2,792657

Little River

3,394929

Logan

5,399633

Lonoke

13,705679

Madison

3,371763

Marion

3,739577

Miller

13,171771

Mississippi

18,226925

Monroe

2,029594

Montgomery

1,320541

Nevada

2,398706

Newton

1,073490

Ouachita

6,943698

Perry

1,166641

Phillips

5,470655

Pike

2,591643

Poinsett

5,211712

Polk

5,851606

Pope

25,972797

Prairie

1,512678

Pulaski

253,228971

Randolph

5,544625

Saline

24,589707

Scott

3,076608

Searcy

1,525514

Sebastian

65,910815

Sevier

4,912662

Sharp

3,825580

St. Francis

7,424696

Stone

2,602570

Union

17,729922

Van Buren

3,625697

Washington

107,3911,002

White

24,281732

Woodruff

1,784724

Yell

6,663618

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: Covered employment and wages 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
StateEmploymentAverage 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)

145,921.11.5$1,109--3.9--

Alabama

1,955.31.1928362.932

Alaska

306.7-1.21,052191.551

Arizona

2,834.72.6978253.512

Arkansas

1,217.21.0848482.542

California

17,293.02.11,34645.74

Colorado

2,653.32.51,133104.39

Connecticut

1,689.70.31,31752.246

Delaware

444.90.61,081152.640

District of Columbia

769.00.91,81212.737

Florida

8,712.02.0975263.416

Georgia

4,425.01.81,027203.416

Hawaii

664.50.8984243.126

Idaho

712.43.0857467.11

Illinois

6,001.10.81,15192.640

Indiana

3,057.81.1915383.611

Iowa

1,549.70.4938323.028

Kansas

1,390.30.4894411.949

Kentucky

1,903.80.5892422.147

Louisiana

1,918.80.4933352.147

Maine

610.31.2884433.416

Maryland

2,683.60.51,20783.322

Massachusetts

3,582.21.31,41134.48

Michigan

4,321.80.91,062173.416

Minnesota

2,875.71.31,100143.416

Mississippi

1,140.60.5774512.445

Missouri

2,809.51.0945312.932

Montana

461.41.0843502.737

Nebraska

980.90.9901393.028

Nevada

1,351.93.5955293.225

New Hampshire

661.30.71,132113.710

New Jersey

4,106.91.61,26261.850

New Mexico

816.70.6865452.542

New York

9,465.31.41,42826.42

North Carolina

4,388.61.5964283.322

North Dakota

416.10.41,010223.322

Ohio

5,409.20.8973273.126

Oklahoma

1,607.81.2895403.512

Oregon

1,900.42.01,014214.57

Pennsylvania

5,870.41.21,075163.512

Rhode Island

483.61.11,056182.737

South Carolina

2,058.81.6879442.835

South Dakota

423.80.9856473.416

Tennessee

2,984.81.31,000233.028

Texas

12,207.82.01,109133.512

Utah

1,465.53.6936332.932

Vermont

314.70.5919372.542

Virginia

3,884.21.31,121122.835

Washington

3,305.02.41,21775.83

West Virginia

693.10.1847494.75

Wisconsin

2,872.61.0951303.028

Wyoming

267.50.6935344.66

Puerto Rico

887.0-4.4570(3)2.5(3)

Virgin Islands

34.3-11.1827(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: Tuesday, June 19, 2018