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

United States (4)

148,061.8 1.5 -- $1,144 -- 3.2 --

Arkansas

1,227.0 0.8 -- 869 50 2.4 43

Benton, AR

121.5 1.3 149 1,067 147 5.5 34

Pulaski, AR

254.7 0.3 258 982 218 1.1 310

Washington, AR

109.2 1.4 139 984 215 -1.8 343

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
Area Employment December 2018 Average weekly wage(1)

United States(2)

148,061,773 1,144

Arkansas

1,226,959 869

Arkansas

10,062 839

Ashley

6,642 848

Baxter

15,073 707

Benton

121,517 1,067

Boone

14,360 775

Bradley

3,883 708

Calhoun

3,122 1,049

Carroll

10,499 614

Chicot

3,114 662

Clark

9,716 667

Clay

3,208 618

Cleburne

6,262 673

Cleveland

1,095 633

Columbia

8,158 795

Conway

6,373 787

Craighead

52,095 785

Crawford

19,492 728

Crittenden

16,355 732

Cross

4,831 676

Dallas

2,748 638

Desha

4,847 689

Drew

6,537 685

Faulkner

41,285 847

Franklin

4,703 737

Fulton

2,059 602

Garland

37,308 729

Grant

4,316 790

Greene

15,710 750

Hempstead

7,992 712

Hot Spring

8,196 721

Howard

6,864 644

Independence

16,448 786

Izard

3,199 639

Jackson

5,243 719

Jefferson

27,783 800

Johnson

8,652 659

Lafayette

1,178 632

Lawrence

3,965 661

Lee

1,973 751

Lincoln

2,829 681

Little River

3,437 936

Logan

5,339 637

Lonoke

14,125 700

Madison

3,384 722

Marion

3,739 635

Miller

13,203 809

Mississippi

17,975 1,071

Monroe

2,053 609

Montgomery

1,286 556

Nevada

2,505 716

Newton

1,054 518

Ouachita

6,932 718

Perry

1,158 659

Phillips

5,529 666

Pike

2,666 673

Poinsett

5,377 729

Polk

5,975 626

Pope

26,661 844

Prairie

1,477 647

Pulaski

254,736 982

Randolph

5,768 621

Saline

25,027 725

Scott

3,064 611

Searcy

1,473 536

Sebastian

65,568 843

Sevier

4,945 644

Sharp

3,592 555

St. Francis

7,361 742

Stone

2,710 583

Union

17,611 935

Van Buren

3,420 717

Washington

109,152 984

White

24,328 741

Woodruff

1,700 736

Yell

6,602 628

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

United States (2)

148,061.8 1.5 $1,144 -- 3.2 --

Alabama

1,986.6 1.6 957 36 3.1 33

Alaska

308.3 0.4 1,103 16 4.9 7

Arizona

2,921.1 3.0 1,017 24 4.1 11

Arkansas

1,227.0 0.8 869 50 2.4 43

California

17,556.7 1.7 1,392 4 3.3 26

Colorado

2,713.7 2.2 1,180 10 4.1 11

Connecticut

1,697.9 0.5 1,334 5 1.3 49

Delaware

451.2 1.1 1,107 15 2.4 43

District of Columbia

775.1 0.6 1,943 1 7.3 2

Florida

8,902.7 2.1 1,006 27 3.1 33

Georgia

4,499.8 1.8 1,053 21 2.4 43

Hawaii

669.3 0.6 1,016 25 3.3 26

Idaho

734.4 3.2 890 47 3.6 20

Illinois

6,026.0 0.3 1,189 9 3.3 26

Indiana

3,086.2 0.9 941 38 2.8 37

Iowa

1,558.4 0.5 966 35 3.0 35

Kansas

1,402.2 0.8 927 41 3.7 18

Kentucky

1,914.0 0.3 924 42 3.2 30

Louisiana

1,934.1 0.7 968 34 3.8 15

Maine

618.4 1.3 906 44 2.5 41

Maryland

2,702.5 0.8 1,228 8 1.7 48

Massachusetts

3,620.3 1.0 1,457 2 3.3 26

Michigan

4,366.5 1.0 1,077 19 1.3 49

Minnesota

2,902.3 0.9 1,140 14 3.6 20

Mississippi

1,144.3 0.2 793 51 2.5 41

Missouri

2,821.3 0.5 980 31 3.6 20

Montana

468.8 1.6 888 48 5.2 5

Nebraska

983.0 0.2 930 40 3.2 30

Nevada

1,397.4 3.3 1,006 27 5.3 4

New Hampshire

666.0 0.7 1,158 12 2.3 46

New Jersey

4,125.6 0.8 1,298 6 2.7 38

New Mexico

830.2 1.5 905 45 4.6 9

New York

9,613.2 1.5 1,445 3 1.0 51

North Carolina

4,458.9 1.6 1,013 26 5.1 6

North Dakota

422.3 1.5 1,057 20 4.7 8

Ohio

5,442.9 0.5 1,006 27 3.4 24

Oklahoma

1,632.3 1.5 932 39 4.1 11

Oregon

1,935.8 1.7 1,052 22 3.7 18

Pennsylvania

5,932.5 1.0 1,103 16 2.6 39

Rhode Island

487.2 0.8 1,085 18 2.6 39

South Carolina

2,119.6 2.8 893 46 1.9 47

South Dakota

428.4 1.2 885 49 3.4 24

Tennessee

3,039.8 1.8 1,030 23 3.0 35

Texas

12,531.7 2.5 1,148 13 3.5 23

Utah

1,511.5 3.2 972 33 3.8 15

Vermont

314.2 -0.4 954 37 3.2 30

Virginia

3,927.2 1.1 1,164 11 3.8 15

Washington

3,384.2 2.4 1,292 7 6.3 3

West Virginia

704.2 1.5 917 43 8.3 1

Wisconsin

2,892.3 0.6 989 30 4.0 14

Wyoming

272.1 1.8 978 32 4.4 10

Puerto Rico

896.4 0.8 576 (3) 0.9 (3)

Virgin Islands

34.5 0.5 925 (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