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News Release Information

18-638-SAN
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Contacts

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

County Employment and Wages in Washington – Third Quarter 2017

Employment increased in 9 of Washington’s 10 large counties from September 2016 to September 2017, 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 2016 annual average employment.) Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Richard Holden noted that employment increases ranged from 4.6 percent in Clark County to 1.1 percent in Pierce County.

Nationally, employment advanced 1.0 percent from September 2016 to September 2017 as 283 of the 346 largest U.S. counties gained jobs. Midland, Texas, had the largest percentage increase in the country, up 10.4 percent over the year. Collier, Fla., had the largest over-the-year decrease in employment with a loss of 5.2 percent.

Among the 10 largest counties in Washington, employment was highest in King County (1,367,100) in September 2017, while Kitsap County had the smallest employment level (87,500). Together, Washington’s large counties accounted for 85.0 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 346 largest counties made up 72.7 percent of total U.S. employment, which stood at 144.5 million in September 2017.

Average weekly wages increased in 7 of Washington’s 10 largest counties from the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017. Yakima County had the largest wage gain at 3.2 percent, followed by King County at 2.7 percent. King County had the highest average weekly wage ($1,626), followed by Snohomish County ($1,102) and Benton County ($1,030). (See table 1.) Nationally, the average weekly wage fell 0.6 percent over the year to $1,021 in the third quarter of 2017.

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 29 counties in Washington with employment below 75,000. All of these smaller counties had average weekly wages below the national average in the third quarter of 2017. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

Seven large counties in Washington had increases in average weekly wages from the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017. Yakima County’s 3.2-percent wage gain placed eighth among the nation’s 346 large counties. Three other Washington counties ranked in the top 20 nationwide: King (2.7 percent, 12th), Thurston (1.9 percent, 15th), and Whatcom (1.7 percent, 17th). Three of Washington’s large counties had over-the-year average weekly wage decreases: Kitsap (-2.4 percent, 281st), Benton (-1.6 percent, 217th), and Snohomish (-0.5 percent, 111th). (See table 1.)

Nationally, 265 of the 346 largest counties had over-the-year wage decreases. Mercer, N.J., had the largest wage drop, down 8.8 percent from the third quarter of 2016. Wyandotte, Kan., was second with a wage decrease of 6.0 percent, followed by Clark, Nev. (-5.3 percent); Somerset, N.J. (-5.0 percent); and Clay, Mo. (-4.8 percent).

Among the largest U.S. counties, 71 experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Midland, Texas, had the largest percentage increase in average weekly wages (8.4 percent), followed by Union, N.J. (8.2 percent); Elkhart, Ind. (6.5 percent); Forsyth, N.C. (5.3 percent); and Maui + Kalawao, Hawaii (4.6 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Average weekly wages in three of Washington’s large counties placed in the top third of the national ranking. King County ($1,626, 8th), Snohomish ($1,102, 64th), and Benton (1,030, 92nd) had weekly wages that exceeded the national average in the third quarter of 2017. The two counties with the lowest average weekly wages—Whatcom ($858, 250th) and Yakima ($735, 333rd)—placed in the bottom third of the largest U.S. counties.

Among the largest U.S. counties, 250 had weekly wages below the national average in the third quarter of 2017. Cameron, Texas ($612), had the lowest wage, followed by the counties of Horry, S.C. ($633); Hidalgo, Texas ($649); and Webb, Texas ($672).

Nationally, 96 large counties registered average weekly wages above the U.S. average of $1,021 in the third quarter of 2017. Santa Clara, Calif., held the top position among the highest-paid large counties with an average weekly wage of $2,320. San Mateo, Calif., was second at $2,123 followed by San Francisco, Calif. ($1,954), New York, N.Y. ($1,889), and Washington, D.C. ($1,759).

Average weekly wages in Washington’s smaller counties

All 29 counties in Washington with employment below 75,000 had average weekly wages lower than the national average of $1,021. Among these counties, Cowlitz County had the highest average weekly wage at $925. Skamania County reported the lowest weekly wage among all counties in the state, averaging $624 in the third quarter of 2017. (See table 2.)

When all 39 counties in Washington were considered, 5 had wages below $700. Eighteen counties had average weekly wages ranging from $700 to $799, 6 had wages from $800 to $899, 7 had wages from $900 to $999, and 3 had wages at or above $1,000. (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 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 2017 version of the national news release. Tables and additional content from Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online are now available at www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn16.htm. The 2017 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2018.

The County Employment and Wages release for fourth quarter 2017 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, May 23, 2018.

QCEW Publication Acceleration and Conversion to Two Data Releases

The QCEW publication process is accelerating for a more timely release. Beginning with the fourth quarter 2017 release, QCEW data will be published in two parts. The current County Employment and Wages news release and associated data will be accelerated and published first. The full QCEW data release will occur two weeks later, accompanied by a data release notice.


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 144.5 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. 13, the number of weeks in a quarter, then divide the result. 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 10 largest counties in Washington, third quarter 2017
AreaEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
September 2017 (thousands)Percent change, September 2016-17 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)Average weekly wageNational ranking by level (3)Percent change, third quarter 2016-17 (2)National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

144,464.41.0--1021---0.6--

Washington

3,343.42.0--120851.71

Benton, Wash.

89.63.89103092-1.6217

Clark, Wash.

158.04.649751360.743

King, Wash.

1,367.12.828162682.712

Kitsap, Wash.

87.51.4104947162-2.4281

Pierce, Wash.

305.11.11459531540.359

Snohomish, Wash.

283.4-0.8321110264-0.5111

Spokane, Wash.

220.81.41048892140.743

Thurston, Wash.

114.83.3169461641.915

Whatcom, Wash.

89.81.9678582501.717

Yakima, Wash.

125.01.31147353333.28

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 Washington, third quarter 2017
AreaEmployment September 2017Average Weekly Wage(1)

United States(2)

144,464,425$1,021

Washington

3,343,4211,208

Adams

9,005724

Asotin

6,535735

Benton

89,5941,030

Chelan

46,386738

Clallam

23,397763

Clark

157,971975

Columbia

1,328794

Cowlitz

39,001925

Douglas

13,875666

Ferry

1,826791

Franklin

36,313758

Garfield

760837

Grant

43,501755

Grays Harbor

23,272775

Island

16,684739

Jefferson

8,873739

King

1,367,1361,626

Kitsap

87,454947

Kittitas

15,067785

Klickitat

7,753889

Lewis

25,756783

Lincoln

2,878732

Mason

13,929783

Okanogan

19,999634

Pacific

6,633703

Pend Oreille

3,096915

Pierce

305,087953

San Juan

6,492655

Skagit

51,501900

Skamania

2,186624

Snohomish

283,3911,102

Spokane

220,780889

Stevens

10,855745

Thurston

114,810946

Wahkiakum

718695

Walla Walla

28,650820

Whatcom

89,819858

Whitman

18,809887

Yakima

124,987735

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: 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, third quarter 2017
StateEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
September 2017 (thousands)Percent change, September 2016-17Average weekly wageNational ranking by levelPercent change, third quarter 2016-17National ranking by percent change

United States (2)

144,464.41.0$1,021---0.6--

Alabama

1,941.10.885937-1.338

Alaska

335.4-0.71,02515-2.850

Arizona

2,760.12.494824-0.210

Arkansas

1,213.00.678849-0.619

California

17,153.41.71,21540.54

Colorado

2,625.91.91,06790.54

Connecticut

1,676.30.11,1796-2.247

Delaware

443.00.41,026140.46

District of Columbia

764.70.71,75911.32

Florida

8,305.8-0.289629-1.131

Georgia

4,343.51.396121-0.927

Hawaii

652.50.495322-0.313

Idaho

722.32.777850-0.516

Illinois

5,969.60.51,05710-0.313

Indiana

3,044.00.686136-0.619

Iowa

1,546.1-0.285538-2.247

Kansas

1,376.4-0.183941-2.146

Kentucky

1,890.40.583742-2.449

Louisiana

1,904.3-0.186933-1.742

Maine

621.90.782146-0.516

Maryland

2,661.80.51,1058-1.742

Massachusetts

3,568.00.91,2652-0.927

Michigan

4,334.30.996420-1.131

Minnesota

2,883.01.11,03013-2.045

Mississippi

1,129.1-0.172951-1.439

Missouri

2,805.80.987831-1.234

Montana

468.60.9793480.18

Nebraska

973.3-0.285039-0.823

Nevada

1,337.72.991426-3.851

New Hampshire

659.10.61,02216-0.415

New Jersey

4,043.61.11,1567-1.541

New Mexico

816.00.382345-0.823

New York

9,329.81.21,2193-0.210

North Carolina

4,348.01.390427-0.721

North Dakota

419.2-1.095322-1.234

Ohio

5,383.60.692025-0.823

Oklahoma

1,593.30.784340-1.234

Oregon

1,905.31.896919-0.19

Pennsylvania

5,836.51.01,00217-1.131

Rhode Island

484.50.897318-1.844

South Carolina

2,027.20.882843-0.516

South Dakota

426.20.480347-0.721

Tennessee

2,953.31.190328-1.234

Texas

12,008.91.41,03212-1.029

Utah

1,444.12.687930-0.210

Vermont

310.30.186933-1.439

Virginia

3,843.61.01,05311-0.823

Washington

3,343.42.01,20851.71

West Virginia

694.00.2826441.13

Wisconsin

2,866.90.587632-1.029

Wyoming

276.20.3868350.37

Puerto Rico

862.8-3.1509(3)-2.7(3)

Virgin Islands

36.9-1.1763(3)-1.9(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: Tuesday, April 24, 2018