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17-758-DAL
Thursday, June 15, 2017

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County Employment and Wages in Arkansas – Fourth Quarter 2016

Employment increased in the three largest Arkansas counties from December 2015 to December 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are those with 2015 annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more.) Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Stanley W. Suchman noted that the rates of job growth in two of the three large Arkansas counties exceeded the national average. Benton County’s 3.1-percent job gain ranked 32nd nationwide and Washington County’s 1.8-percent gain ranked 114th. Employment in Pulaski County rose 0.2 percent, below the national average. (See table 1.)

Nationally, employment advanced 1.2 percent from December 2015 to December 2016 with 280 of the 344 largest U.S. counties registering increases. Williamson, Tenn., recorded the largest percentage increase in the country, up 5.1 percent over the year. Lafayette, La., registered the largest percentage employment decline among large counties, down 5.1 percent.

Among the three largest counties in Arkansas, employment was highest in Pulaski County (250,700) in December 2016. Benton and Washington Counties had employment levels of 117,500 and 104,700, respectively. Together, the three largest Arkansas counties accounted for 39.2 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 344 largest counties made up 72.8 percent of total U.S. employment.

From the fourth quarter of 2015 to the fourth quarter of 2016, Pulaski County had the largest percentage decrease in average weekly wages in Arkansas’s large counties, down 2.6 percent. (See table 1.) Benton recorded the highest average weekly wage among the state’s large counties at $1,017 per week. Nationally, the average weekly wage decreased 1.5 percent from a year ago, declining to $1,067 in the fourth quarter of 2016. This is one of only eight national declines in the history of the series, which dates back to 1978, and was the largest decline since fourth quarter 2011 (-1.7 percent).

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 2016. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

Average weekly wages declined in all three large Arkansas counties. Among the three, Washington experienced the smallest decline in average weekly wages, down 0.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the fourth quarter of 2016, less than the national average decrease of 1.5 percent. (See table 1.) The smaller over-the-year wage decline ranked 60th among the 344 large U.S. counties. Over-the-year wage decreases were greater than the U.S. average in Benton (-2.5 percent, 242nd) and Pulaski (-2.6 percent, 252nd).

Among the 344 large U.S. counties, 290 had over-the-year wage decreases. McLean, Ill., had the largest wage decline, down 9.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015. Clay, Mo., had the second-largest decline with an average weekly wage loss of 8.3 percent, followed by Lafayette, La., down 8.0 percent.

Of the 344 large U.S. counties, 48 experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Clayton, Ga., had the largest percentage increase in average weekly wages with a gain of 11.3 percent, followed by Washington, Pa. (4.9 percent); Marin, Calif. (4.3 percent); and Elkhart, Ind. (4.0 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Weekly wage levels in the state’s three large counties were below the nationwide average ($1,067) in the fourth quarter of 2016. Benton County's average weekly wage of $1,017 ranked 136th among the 344 large U.S. counties. Weekly wages in Washington and Pulaski Counties, at $950 and $949, respectively, ranked 187th and 188th nationally.

Among the large U.S. counties, 71 percent (243) reported average weekly wages below the national average of $1,067. Cameron, Texas, reported the lowest weekly wage ($640), followed by Hidalgo, Texas ($648) and Horry, S.C. ($654).

Nationally, 100 large counties registered average weekly wages above the U.S. average in the fourth quarter of 2016. Santa Clara, Calif., held the top position with an average weekly wage of $2,365. New York, N.Y., was second at $2,212, followed by San Mateo, Calif., at $2,098. Average weekly wages in the highest-ranked county, Santa Clara, Calif., were more than three times the average weekly wage in the lowest-ranked county, Cameron, Texas ($640).

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 $1,067 in the fourth quarter of 2016. Among these smaller counties, the highest weekly wages were in Calhoun ($988) and Little River ($970), while the lowest weekly wage was in Newton ($483). (See table 2.)

When all 75 counties in Arkansas were considered, 13 reported average weekly wages under $600, 38 reported wages from $600 to $699, 15 had wages from $700 to $799, and 9 averaged $800 or more per week. (See chart 1.) For the most part, higher-paying counties were located around the metropolitan areas of Blytheville, Fayetteville, Little Rock, 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 2015 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 2016 version of the national news release. Tables and additional content from Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online are now available online at www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn15.htm. The 2016 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2017.

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.

The County Employment and Wages release for first quarter 2017 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.

Upcoming Industry Changes to QCEW Data

Beginning with the release of first quarter 2017 data, the program will switch to the 2017 version of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) as the basis for the assignment and tabulation of economic data by industry. For more information on the change, please see the Federal Register notice at www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/federal_register_notices/notices/fr08au16.pdf.


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 9.9 million employer reports cover 143.7 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. 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 (see Technical Note below) 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 3 largest counties in Arkansas, fourth quarter 2016
Area Employment Average weekly wage (1)
December
2016
(thousands)
Percent change,
December
2015-16 (2)
National
ranking by
percent change (3)
Average
weekly
wage
National
ranking by
level (3)
Percent change,
fourth quarter
2015-16 (2)
National
ranking by
percent change (3)

United States (4)

143,749.9 1.2 -- $1,067 -- -1.5 --

Arkansas

1,205.4 0.4 -- 827 47 -1.4 22

Benton, Ark.

117.5 3.1 32 1,017 136 -2.5 242

Pulaski, Ark.

250.7 0.6 230 949 188 -2.6 252

Washington, Ark.

104.7 1.8 114 950 187 -0.2 60

(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 2016
Area Employment
December
2016
Average
weekly
wage(1)

United States(2)

143,749,910 $1,067

Arkansas

1,205,391 827

Arkansas

9,992 836

Ashley

6,531 794

Baxter

14,761 679

Benton

117,516 1,017

Boone

13,875 716

Bradley

3,779 649

Calhoun

2,837 988

Carroll

10,751 591

Chicot

3,222 616

Clark

9,304 648

Clay

3,260 587

Cleburne

6,413 646

Cleveland

980 623

Columbia

8,036 763

Conway

6,662 724

Craighead

49,915 741

Crawford

19,635 678

Crittenden

16,644 700

Cross

4,958 651

Dallas

2,825 609

Desha

4,567 658

Drew

6,440 674

Faulkner

40,593 770

Franklin

4,549 709

Fulton

1,851 558

Garland

36,061 699

Grant

4,065 749

Greene

15,189 712

Hempstead

7,903 676

Hot Spring

8,536 694

Howard

6,987 627

Independence

15,881 738

Izard

3,200 626

Jackson

5,237 681

Jefferson

28,364 774

Johnson

8,943 621

Lafayette

1,226 674

Lawrence

4,073 626

Lee

1,963 621

Lincoln

2,869 611

Little River

3,459 970

Logan

5,562 616

Lonoke

14,038 679

Madison

3,248 663

Marion

3,771 564

Miller

12,957 767

Mississippi

18,039 882

Monroe

2,083 580

Montgomery

1,347 529

Nevada

2,520 661

Newton

1,059 483

Ouachita

7,067 671

Perry

1,215 629

Phillips

5,427 631

Pike

2,508 598

Poinsett

5,281 690

Polk

5,879 585

Pope

26,433 809

Prairie

1,526 668

Pulaski

250,699 949

Randolph

5,257 604

Saline

23,911 695

Scott

3,127 581

Searcy

1,513 530

Sebastian

66,985 790

Sevier

4,929 613

Sharp

3,882 581

St. Francis

7,830 662

Stone

2,546 562

Union

17,628 905

Van Buren

3,533 680

Washington

104,728 950

White

24,385 730

Woodruff

1,779 696

Yell

6,509 605

(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 2016
State Employment Average weekly wage (1)
December
2016
(thousands)
Percent change,
December
2015-16
Average
weekly
wage
National
ranking by
level
Percent change,
fourth quarter
2015-16
National
ranking by
percent change

United States (2)

143,749.9 1.2 1067 -- -1.5 --

Alabama

1,932.6 0.7 901 35 -1.3 21

Alaska

310.0 -1.9 1038 17 -5.2 51

Arizona

2,760.1 2.1 945 25 -2.2 34

Arkansas

1,205.4 0.4 827 47 -1.4 22

California

16,923.3 1.9 1271 5 -0.3 4

Colorado

2,588.6 2.0 1086 12 -1.5 24

Connecticut

1,685.5 0.0 1289 4 -3.4 46

Delaware

441.2 -0.1 1055 15 -2.9 44

District of Columbia

760.9 0.5 1763 1 0.6 2

Florida

8,538.9 2.7 942 27 -1.8 28

Georgia

4,349.3 2.4 993 20 -0.9 14

Hawaii

658.3 0.7 954 24 -0.3 4

Idaho

691.6 3.2 800 50 -0.4 8

Illinois

5,947.6 0.4 1122 9 -2.0 31

Indiana

3,021.7 0.9 883 38 -0.9 14

Iowa

1,542.0 0.1 911 33 -1.0 16

Kansas

1,384.5 0.1 877 39 -2.2 34

Kentucky

1,894.2 0.6 874 41 -1.4 22

Louisiana

1,907.4 -1.6 914 32 -2.9 44

Maine

602.6 0.8 855 43 -2.1 33

Maryland

2,666.7 1.0 1169 7 -0.4 8

Massachusetts

3,530.4 1.3 1352 2 -2.4 39

Michigan

4,283.0 1.5 1026 19 -1.6 25

Minnesota

2,839.7 1.2 1062 14 -1.1 18

Mississippi

1,134.0 0.0 756 51 -1.8 28

Missouri

2,783.2 0.9 918 31 -1.7 27

Montana

456.5 0.7 822 48 0.5 3

Nebraska

972.4 0.0 876 40 -0.5 10

Nevada

1,307.8 2.7 924 29 -1.2 20

New Hampshire

656.9 1.3 1092 10 -4.1 48

New Jersey

4,042.1 1.4 1239 6 -1.9 30

New Mexico

811.4 0.0 844 45 -2.5 41

New York

9,332.5 1.2 1342 3 -2.3 36

North Carolina

4,326.3 1.8 932 28 -0.7 13

North Dakota

414.4 -3.2 978 21 -4.2 49

Ohio

5,365.6 0.7 943 26 -2.3 36

Oklahoma

1,587.7 -1.2 864 42 -3.5 47

Oregon

1,860.7 2.4 970 22 -1.0 16

Pennsylvania

5,799.8 0.7 1039 16 -2.3 36

Rhode Island

478.3 0.0 1027 18 -1.6 25

South Carolina

2,024.3 1.8 855 43 -0.6 12

South Dakota

419.9 0.5 828 46 -0.5 10

Tennessee

2,947.5 1.8 970 22 -1.1 18

Texas

11,974.7 1.2 1072 13 -2.5 41

Utah

1,415.1 2.9 910 34 -0.3 4

Vermont

312.6 0.1 897 36 -2.4 39

Virginia

3,831.6 0.6 1091 11 -0.3 4

Washington

3,227.9 2.8 1150 8 1.7 1

West Virginia

693.1 -1.6 809 49 -2.5 41

Wisconsin

2,842.4 0.5 924 29 -2.0 31

Wyoming

265.8 -3.9 894 37 -4.7 50

Puerto Rico

928.2 -0.3 555 (3) -1.9 (3)

Virgin Islands

38.5 0.2 769 (3) -1.8 (3)

(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: Thursday, June 15, 2017