News Release Information
Tuesday, June 09, 2020
County Employment and Wages in Arkansas – Fourth Quarter 2019
Employment rose in two of the three large Arkansas counties from December 2018 to December 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are those with 2018 annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more.) Acting Regional Commissioner Michael Hirniak noted Benton County’s 3.0-percent rate of job growth ranked 20th and Washington County’s 1.8-percent job gain ranked 86th among the 355 large counties nationwide. Pulaski County’s employment fell 0.5 percent over the year, ranking 314th. (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 three largest counties in Arkansas, employment was highest in Pulaski County (253,300) in December 2019. Benton and Washington Counties had employment levels of 125,500 and 111,600, respectively. Together, the three largest Arkansas counties accounted for 39.8 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 355 largest counties made up 73.7 percent of total U.S. employment.
From the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019, Benton County had the largest percentage increase in average weekly wages among Arkansas’s large counties, up 4.0 percent. (See table 1.) Benton also recorded the highest average weekly wage among the state’s large counties at $1,113. 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 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 2019. (See table 2.)
Large county wage changes
Average weekly wages in Benton County increased 4.0 percent, which ranked 109th among the 355 largest U.S. counties. Both Pulaski and Washington County had a 3.0-percent increase in average weekly wages, each ranking 203rd.
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
Average weekly wage levels in the state’s three large counties were below the nationwide average ($1,185) in the fourth quarter of 2019. Benton County's average weekly wage of $1,113 ranked 139th among the 355 large U.S. counties. Weekly wages in Pulaski ($1,010) and Washington Counties ($1,009) ranked 219th and 220th, respectively.
Of the 355 large U.S. counties, 262 reported average weekly wages below the national average of $1,185. Cameron, TX, reported the lowest weekly wage ($701), followed by Hidalgo, TX ($705) and Horry, SC ($721).
Nationally, 93 large counties registered average weekly wages at or above the U.S. average in the fourth quarter of 2019. Santa Clara, CA, held the top position with an average weekly wage of $2,825. Santa Clara’s average weekly wage was more than four times the average weekly wage in the lowest-ranked county, Cameron, TX ($701).
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 $1,185 in the fourth quarter of 2019. Among these smaller counties, two had average weekly wages greater than $1,000: Calhoun ($1,130) and Mississippi ($1,090). The lowest weekly wage was in Searcy ($546).
When all 75 counties in Arkansas were considered, 10 reported average weekly wages under $650, 39 reported wages from $650 to $749, 14 had wages from $750 to $849, and 12 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. The lowest-paying counties were primarily concentrated along or near the northern border of the state.
Additional statistics and other information
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 full data update for first quarter 2020 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, September 2, 2020.
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.
|Area||Employment||Average weekly wage (1)|
|December 2019 (thousands)||Percent change, December|
|National ranking by percent change (3)||Average weekly wage||National ranking by level (3)||Percent change, fourth quarter|
|National ranking by percent change (3)|
United States (4)
Note: Data are preliminary. Covered employment and wages includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs.
Note: Covered employment and wages includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs. Data are preliminary.
|State||Employment||Average weekly wage (1)|
|December 2019 (thousands)||Percent change, December 2018-19||Average weekly wage||National ranking by level||Percent change,|
|National ranking by percent change|
United States (2)
District of Columbia
Note: Data are preliminary. Includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs.
Last Modified Date: Tuesday, June 09, 2020