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19-908-DAL
Monday, June 17, 2019

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County Employment and Wages in Arkansas – Fourth Quarter 2018

Employment increased in the three largest Arkansas counties from December 2017 to December 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are defined as those with 2017 annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more.) Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Stanley W. Suchman noted the rates of job growth in two large Arkansas counties, although below the national average of 1.5 percent, ranked in the top half of the 349 large U.S. counties. Washington County’s 1.4-percent rate of job growth ranked 139th and Benton County’s 1.3-percent job gain ranked 149th nationwide. Pulaski County’s 0.3-percent gain ranked 258th. (See table 1.)

Nationally, 296 of the 349 largest U.S. counties registered increases from December 2017 to December 2018. Midland, TX, recorded the largest percentage increase in the country, up 10.0 percent over the year. Bay, FL, experienced the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment, with a loss of 5.6 percent.

Among the three largest counties in Arkansas, employment was highest in Pulaski County (254,700) in December 2018. Benton and Washington Counties had employment levels of 121,500 and 109,200, respectively. Together, the three largest Arkansas counties accounted for 39.6 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 349 largest counties made up 73.2 percent of total U.S. employment.

From the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018, Benton County had the largest percentage increase in average weekly wages among Arkansas’s large counties, up 5.5 percent. (See table 1.) Benton also recorded the highest average weekly wage among the state’s large counties at $1,067. Nationally, the average weekly wage increased 3.2 percent from a year ago, rising to $1,144 in the fourth quarter of 2018.

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 2018. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

As noted, average weekly wages in Benton County increased 5.5 percent, which ranked 34th among the 349 largest U.S. counties. (See table 1.) Pulaski County’s 1.1-percent wage increase placed 310th. Washington County had an over-the-year wage decline of 1.8 percent, ranking 343rd among the largest U.S. counties.

Among the 349 large U.S. counties, 332 had over-the-year wage increases. Tippecanoe, IN, had the largest fourth quarter over-the-year wage gain at 15.1 percent. Among the large U.S. counties, 15 had over-the-year wage decreases. Washington, PA, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in average weekly wages with a loss of 6.6 percent. 

Large county average weekly wages

Average weekly wage levels in the state’s three large counties were below the nationwide average ($1,144) in the fourth quarter of 2018. Benton County's average weekly wage of $1,067 ranked 147th among the 349 large U.S. counties. Weekly wages in Washington and Pulaski Counties, at $984 and $982, respectively, ranked 215th and 218th nationally.

Of the 349 large U.S. counties, 255 reported average weekly wages below the national average of $1,144. Hidalgo, TX, reported the lowest weekly wage ($680), followed by Cameron, TX, and Horry, SC ($685 each).

Nationally, 94 large counties registered average weekly wages above the U.S. average in the fourth quarter of 2018. Santa Clara, CA, held the top position with an average weekly wage of $2,670. San Francisco, CA, was second at $2,452. The average weekly wage in the highest-ranked county, Santa Clara, CA, was nearly four times the average weekly wage in the lowest-ranked county, Hidalgo, TX ($680).

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 $1,144 in the fourth quarter of 2018. Among these smaller counties, three had average weekly wages greater than $1,000: Mississippi ($1,071); Benton ($1,067); and Calhoun ($1,049). The lowest weekly wage was in Newton ($518). (See table 2.)

When all 75 counties in Arkansas were considered, 22 reported average weekly wages under $650, 31 reported wages from $650 to $749, 15 had wages from $750 to $849, and 7 averaged $850 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 and western borders 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 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 the 2017 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online are now available 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.

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.

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

United States (4)

148,061.81.5--$1,144--3.2--

Arkansas

1,227.00.8--869502.443

Benton, AR

121.51.31491,0671475.534

Pulaski, AR

254.70.32589822181.1310

Washington, AR

109.21.4139984215-1.8343

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, fourth quarter 2018
AreaEmployment December 2018Average weekly wage(1)

United States(2)

148,061,7731,144

Arkansas

1,226,959869

Arkansas

10,062839

Ashley

6,642848

Baxter

15,073707

Benton

121,5171,067

Boone

14,360775

Bradley

3,883708

Calhoun

3,1221,049

Carroll

10,499614

Chicot

3,114662

Clark

9,716667

Clay

3,208618

Cleburne

6,262673

Cleveland

1,095633

Columbia

8,158795

Conway

6,373787

Craighead

52,095785

Crawford

19,492728

Crittenden

16,355732

Cross

4,831676

Dallas

2,748638

Desha

4,847689

Drew

6,537685

Faulkner

41,285847

Franklin

4,703737

Fulton

2,059602

Garland

37,308729

Grant

4,316790

Greene

15,710750

Hempstead

7,992712

Hot Spring

8,196721

Howard

6,864644

Independence

16,448786

Izard

3,199639

Jackson

5,243719

Jefferson

27,783800

Johnson

8,652659

Lafayette

1,178632

Lawrence

3,965661

Lee

1,973751

Lincoln

2,829681

Little River

3,437936

Logan

5,339637

Lonoke

14,125700

Madison

3,384722

Marion

3,739635

Miller

13,203809

Mississippi

17,9751,071

Monroe

2,053609

Montgomery

1,286556

Nevada

2,505716

Newton

1,054518

Ouachita

6,932718

Perry

1,158659

Phillips

5,529666

Pike

2,666673

Poinsett

5,377729

Polk

5,975626

Pope

26,661844

Prairie

1,477647

Pulaski

254,736982

Randolph

5,768621

Saline

25,027725

Scott

3,064611

Searcy

1,473536

Sebastian

65,568843

Sevier

4,945644

Sharp

3,592555

St. Francis

7,361742

Stone

2,710583

Union

17,611935

Van Buren

3,420717

Washington

109,152984

White

24,328741

Woodruff

1,700736

Yell

6,602628

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

United States (2)

148,061.81.5$1,144--3.2--

Alabama

1,986.61.6957363.133

Alaska

308.30.41,103164.97

Arizona

2,921.13.01,017244.111

Arkansas

1,227.00.8869502.443

California

17,556.71.71,39243.326

Colorado

2,713.72.21,180104.111

Connecticut

1,697.90.51,33451.349

Delaware

451.21.11,107152.443

District of Columbia

775.10.61,94317.32

Florida

8,902.72.11,006273.133

Georgia

4,499.81.81,053212.443

Hawaii

669.30.61,016253.326

Idaho

734.43.2890473.620

Illinois

6,026.00.31,18993.326

Indiana

3,086.20.9941382.837

Iowa

1,558.40.5966353.035

Kansas

1,402.20.8927413.718

Kentucky

1,914.00.3924423.230

Louisiana

1,934.10.7968343.815

Maine

618.41.3906442.541

Maryland

2,702.50.81,22881.748

Massachusetts

3,620.31.01,45723.326

Michigan

4,366.51.01,077191.349

Minnesota

2,902.30.91,140143.620

Mississippi

1,144.30.2793512.541

Missouri

2,821.30.5980313.620

Montana

468.81.6888485.25

Nebraska

983.00.2930403.230

Nevada

1,397.43.31,006275.34

New Hampshire

666.00.71,158122.346

New Jersey

4,125.60.81,29862.738

New Mexico

830.21.5905454.69

New York

9,613.21.51,44531.051

North Carolina

4,458.91.61,013265.16

North Dakota

422.31.51,057204.78

Ohio

5,442.90.51,006273.424

Oklahoma

1,632.31.5932394.111

Oregon

1,935.81.71,052223.718

Pennsylvania

5,932.51.01,103162.639

Rhode Island

487.20.81,085182.639

South Carolina

2,119.62.8893461.947

South Dakota

428.41.2885493.424

Tennessee

3,039.81.81,030233.035

Texas

12,531.72.51,148133.523

Utah

1,511.53.2972333.815

Vermont

314.2-0.4954373.230

Virginia

3,927.21.11,164113.815

Washington

3,384.22.41,29276.33

West Virginia

704.21.5917438.31

Wisconsin

2,892.30.6989304.014

Wyoming

272.11.8978324.410

Puerto Rico

896.40.8576(3)0.9(3)

Virgin Islands

34.50.5925(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: Monday, June 17, 2019