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News Release Information

17-1050-SAN
Monday, July 24, 2017

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Technical information:
Media contact:
  • (415) 625-2270

County Employment and Wages in California – Fourth Quarter 2016

Job growth in 21 of the state’s large counties exceeded the national rate of 1.2 percent

Employment increased in 26 of the 29 large counties in California from December 2015 to December 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are defined as those with employment of 75,000 or more as measured by 2015 annual average employment.) Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Richard Holden noted that the annual rates of job growth in 21 large counties in California exceeded the national rate of 1.2 percent in December 2016. San Joaquin County had the largest increase in employment at 3.4 percent, followed by Merced County at 3.2 percent. San Bernardino and Ventura Counties were the only large counties in the state with employment declines, each down 0.1 percent.

Nationally, employment increased in 280 of the 344 largest U.S. counties from December 2015 to December 2016. Williamson, Tenn., had the largest percentage increase in the country, up 5.1 percent over the year. Lafayette, La., had the largest employment decline among the large U.S. counties, down 5.1 percent.

Among the 29 largest counties in California, employment was highest in Los Angeles County (4,415,700) in December 2016, while Napa County had the smallest employment level (73,200). Together, California’s large counties accounted for 94.1 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, average weekly wages decreased in 19 of the 29 large California counties. Nationally, average weekly wages declined 1.5 percent. This is one of only eight declines for the nation in the history of the series, which dates back to 1978. (See table 1.)

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 29 counties in California with employment below 75,000. All of these smaller counties had average weekly wages below the national average of $1,067 in the fourth quarter of 2016. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

As noted, average weekly wages in 19 large California counties declined from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the fourth quarter of 2016. Yolo County’s 3.7-percent wage decline was the largest in the state and ranked 301st among the 344 large U.S. counties. Nine large counties in California had over-the-year wage gains. The wage increases in three of these counties ranked in the top 10 nationally: Marin (4.3 percent, 3rd ), San Francisco (3.7 percent, 5th), and Placer (2.0 percent, 10th). (See table 1.)

Among the 344 large U.S. counties, 290 had over-the-year wage decreases. McLean, Ill., had the largest percentage decline in average weekly wages with a loss of 9.2 percent. Clay, Mo., had the second largest percentage decrease, down 8.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, followed by Lafayette, La. (-8.0 percent), and Douglas, Colo. (-6.8 percent).

Forty-eight large U.S. counties experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Clayton, Ga., had the largest wage gain, up 11.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015. Washington, Pa., was second with a wage gain of 4.9 percent, followed by the counties of Marin, Calif., (4.3 percent), and Elkhart, Ind. (4.0 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Average weekly wages in 13 of the 29 large counties in California exceeded the national average of $1,067 in the fourth quarter of 2016. Santa Clara ($2,365, 1st), San Mateo ($2,098, 3rd), and San Francisco ($2,068, 4th) had average weekly wages that ranked in the top five nationwide. Butte ($790, 327th) and Tulare ($772, 330th) had the lowest weekly wages in the state and placed in the bottom fifth of the national ranking.

Seventy-one percent of the large U.S. counties (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 had average weekly wages above the U.S. average in the fourth quarter of 2016. Joining the three California counties (Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco) in the top five nationwide for average weekly wages were New York, N.Y. ($2,212, 2nd) and Suffolk, Mass. ($1,888, 5th).

Average weekly wages in California’s smaller counties

All 29 counties in California with employment below 75,000 had average weekly wages lower than the national average of $1,067. Among these smaller counties, Yuba had the highest average weekly wage at $961 in the fourth quarter of 2016, while Alpine ($692) had the lowest weekly wage. (See table 2.)

When all 58 counties in California were considered, 16 had wages of $799 or lower. Twenty counties had average weekly wages ranging from $800 to $899, 5 had wages from $900 to $999, 6 had wages from $1,000 to $1,099, and 11 had wages at or above $1,100. (See chart 1.)

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 2015 are now available online at https://www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn15.htm. The 2016 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2017.

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

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 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 29 largest counties in California, fourth quarter 2016
AreaEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December 2016 (thousands)Percent change, December 2015-16 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)Average weekly wageNational ranking by level (3)Percent change, fourth quarter 2015-16 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

143,749.91.2--$1,067---1.5--

California

16,923.31.9--1,2715-0.34

Alameda, Calif.

760.62.01051,37719-1.9191

Butte, Calif.

81.31.8114790327-1.3144

Contra Costa, Calif.

364.32.01051,289320.239

Fresno, Calif.

371.41.81148572901.216

Kern, Calif.

310.30.8211868274-2.0198

Los Angeles, Calif.

4,415.71.11841,25638-0.684

Marin, Calif.

115.31.21721,378184.33

Merced, Calif.

75.93.2288073171.315

Monterey, Calif.

170.22.476915227-0.260

Napa, Calif.

73.20.42501,065102-0.260

Orange, Calif.

1,588.82.01051,20055-0.684

Placer, Calif.

157.42.9481,083872.010

Riverside, Calif.

707.13.132835304-0.576

Sacramento, Calif.

643.72.01051,13266-0.470

San Bernardino, Calif.

725.7-0.12878902510.533

San Diego, Calif.

1,427.51.61391,17058-1.5164

San Francisco, Calif.

715.52.7582,06843.75

San Joaquin, Calif.

242.63.420893249-0.367

San Luis Obispo, Calif.

113.71.9110884257-2.5242

San Mateo, Calif.

398.81.71302,0983-1.5164

Santa Barbara, Calif.

192.00.02811,025125-1.2138

Santa Clara, Calif.

1,064.02.5712,36510.918

Santa Cruz, Calif.

99.41.6139933211-2.0198

Solano, Calif.

138.21.91101,07493-0.9110

Sonoma, Calif.

203.51.51461,018134-2.5242

Stanislaus, Calif.

182.31.51468842570.049

Tulare, Calif.

160.03.1327723300.918

Ventura, Calif.

322.2-0.12871,044111-1.6168

Yolo, Calif.

98.20.92051,10674-3.7301
 

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 California, fourth quarter 2016(1)
AreaEmployment December 2016Average Weekly Wage(2)

United States(1)

143,749,910$1,067

California

16,923,3221,271

Alameda

760,6091,377

Alpine

909692

Amador

11,527847

Butte

81,329790

Calaveras

9,235789

Colusa

8,487832

Contra Costa

364,2781,289

Del Norte

8,033741

El Dorado

55,255943

Fresno

371,368857

Glenn

8,978774

Humboldt

48,692764

Imperial

64,441722

Inyo

7,522823

Kern

310,329868

Kings

46,124821

Lake

15,841720

Lassen

10,012872

Los Angeles

4,415,6711,256

Madera

48,150817

Marin

115,3241,378

Mariposa

5,106749

Mendocino

31,608745

Merced

75,871807

Modoc

2,439717

Mono

7,542703

Monterey

170,232915

Napa

73,1671,065

Nevada

31,295873

Orange

1,588,8011,200

Placer

157,4011,083

Plumas

5,742801

Riverside

707,108835

Sacramento

643,6541,132

San Benito

16,081902

San Bernardino

725,708890

San Diego

1,427,4981,170

San Francisco

715,4722,068

San Joaquin

242,550893

San Luis Obispo

113,690884

San Mateo

398,7532,098

Santa Barbara

191,9551,025

Santa Clara

1,063,9902,365

Santa Cruz

99,433933

Shasta

64,616809

Sierra

507715

Siskiyou

13,476751

Solano

138,2481,074

Sonoma

203,5171,018

Stanislaus

182,331884

Sutter

28,793809

Tehama

17,522820

Trinity

2,549745

Tulare

159,963772

Tuolumne

17,635809

Ventura

322,2281,044

Yolo

98,2451,106

Yuba

16,685961

Footnotes
(1) Totals for the United States do not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.
(2) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
 

NOTE: 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
StateEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December 2016 (thousands)Percent change, December 2015-16Average weekly wageNational ranking by levelPercent change, fourth quarter 2015-16National ranking by percent change

United States (2)

143,749.91.21067---1.5--

Alabama

1,932.60.790135-1.321

Alaska

310.0-1.9103817-5.251

Arizona

2,760.12.194525-2.234

Arkansas

1,205.40.482747-1.422

California

16,923.31.912715-0.34

Colorado

2,588.62.0108612-1.524

Connecticut

1,685.50.012894-3.446

Delaware

441.2-0.1105515-2.944

District of Columbia

760.90.5176310.62

Florida

8,538.92.794227-1.828

Georgia

4,349.32.499320-0.914

Hawaii

658.30.795424-0.34

Idaho

691.63.280050-0.48

Illinois

5,947.60.411229-231

Indiana

3,021.70.988338-0.914

Iowa

1,542.00.191133-116

Kansas

1,384.50.187739-2.234

Kentucky

1,894.20.687441-1.422

Louisiana

1,907.4-1.691432-2.944

Maine

602.60.885543-2.133

Maryland

2,666.71.011697-0.48

Massachusetts

3,530.41.313522-2.439

Michigan

4,283.01.5102619-1.625

Minnesota

2,839.71.2106214-1.118

Mississippi

1,134.00.075651-1.828

Missouri

2,783.20.991831-1.727

Montana

456.50.7822480.53

Nebraska

972.40.087640-0.510

Nevada

1,307.82.792429-1.220

New Hampshire

656.91.3109210-4.148

New Jersey

4,042.11.412396-1.930

New Mexico

811.40.084445-2.541

New York

9,332.51.213423-2.336

North Carolina

4,326.31.893228-0.713

North Dakota

414.4-3.297821-4.249

Ohio

5,365.60.794326-2.336

Oklahoma

1,587.7-1.286442-3.547

Oregon

1,860.72.497022-116

Pennsylvania

5,799.80.7103916-2.336

Rhode Island

478.30.0102718-1.625

South Carolina

2,024.31.885543-0.612

South Dakota

419.90.582846-0.510

Tennessee

2,947.51.897022-1.118

Texas

11,974.71.2107213-2.541

Utah

1,415.12.991034-0.34

Vermont

312.60.189736-2.439

Virginia

3,831.60.6109111-0.34

Washington

3,227.92.8115081.71

West Virginia

693.1-1.680949-2.541

Wisconsin

2,842.40.592429-231

Wyoming

265.8-3.989437-4.750

Puerto Rico

928.2-0.3555(3)-1.9(3)

Virgin Islands

38.50.2769(3)-1.8(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, July 24, 2017