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21-1471-SAN
Friday, August 06, 2021

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Technical information:
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County Employment and Wages in California – Fourth Quarter 2020

Employment declined in all of California’s 29 largest counties from December 2019 to December 2020

Employment declined in all of California’s 29 largest counties from December 2019 to December 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are those with annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2019.) Regional Commissioner Chris Rosenlund noted that San Francisco County (-14.0 percent), Napa County (-12.7 percent), and Marin County (-11.0 percent) had the largest over-the-year decreases in employment. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in covered employment among selected large counties in California, December 2020

National employment decreased 6.1 percent over the year, with 352 of the 357 largest U.S. counties reporting declines. Maui + Kalawao, HI, had the largest over-the-year decrease in employment with a loss of 22.8 percent. Utah, UT, experienced the largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment with a gain of 3.8 percent.

Among the 29 largest counties in California, employment was highest in Los Angeles County (4,105,300) in December 2020. Within Los Angeles County’s private industry, health care and social assistance accounted for the largest employment. Together, the 29 largest California counties accounted for 94.0 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 357 largest counties made up 73.1 percent of total U.S. employment.

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 29 counties in California with employment below 75,000. Wage levels in all 29 smaller counties were below the national average in the fourth quarter of 2020. (See table 2).

Large county wage changes

All 29 large California counties reported average weekly wage gains from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020. (See chart 2.) San Francisco County had the largest wage gain at 44.3 percent, followed by San Mateo County (+31.0 percent) and Santa Clara County (+30.6 percent). Over-the-year wage gains among California’s other 26 large counties ranged from 19.2 percent to 0.2 percent.

Chart 2. Over-the-year percent change in covered average weekly wages among selected large counties in California, fourth quarter 2020

Among the 357 largest counties in the United States, 356 had over-the-year wage increases. Nationally, across most industries, increases in average weekly wages reflect substantial employment declines combined with wage increases. The lowest paying industry, leisure and hospitality, had the largest employment loss, which results in higher average weekly wages for the industry and the nation. San Francisco, CA, had the largest percentage wage increase (+44.3 percent). Ector, TX, had the only over-the-year percentage decrease (-7.5 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Weekly wages in the 14 of the 29 largest counties in California were above the national average of $1,339 in the fourth quarter of 2020. Average weekly wages in three counties held the top three positions nationwide: Santa Clara ($3,690, 1st); San Francisco ($3,646, 2nd); and San Mateo ($3,435, 3rd).

Among the largest U.S. counties, 89 reported average weekly wages above the U.S. average in the fourth quarter of 2020. Santa Clara, CA, had the highest average weekly wage at $3,690. Average weekly wages were below the national average in the remaining 268 counties. At $760 a week, Cameron, TX, had the lowest average weekly wage.

Average weekly wages in California’s smaller counties

All of the 29 counties in California—those with employment below 75,000—had average weekly wages below the national average of $1,339. El Dorado County had the highest wage ($1,204), followed by Nevada ($1,135). Lake County ($912) had the lowest weekly wage in the state.

When all 58 counties in California were considered, 31 reported average weekly wages of $1,099 or lower, 7 had wages from $1,100 to $1,199, 4 had wages from $1,200 to $1,299, 6 had wages from $1,300 to $1,399, and 10 had wages of $1,400 or higher. (See chart 3.) The higher-paying counties were located in and around the San Francisco bay area and the coastal southern California metropolitan areas. The lower-paying counties, those with weekly wages under $1,000, were found in the in the northwestern and central portions 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 2019 edition of this publication was published in September 2020. Tables and additional content from the 2019 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online are available at www.bls.gov/cew/publications/employment-and-wages-annual-averages/2019/home.htm. The 2020 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2021.

The County Employment and Wages release for first quarter 2021 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, August 18, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. (ET). The County Employment and Wages full data update for first quarter 2021 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, September 1, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

QCEW Imputation Issue Caused by Pandemic-Related Challenges

In the spring of 2020, BLS modified its imputation process for QCEW to be more responsive to current economic conditions. While continuing work to improve this process, BLS made an unintended data processing error. This error affected data for the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2020. BLS has analyzed this issue and has determined that the impact on QCEW employment was negligible at the statewide level. In smaller areas and industries, revisions may be larger than usual. Wage data were not affected. Following the usual QCEW practice, these data will be revised and corrected with the full data update on September 1, 2021.

For more information on QCEW imputation methodology, see www.bls.gov/cew/additional-resources/imputation-methodology.htm


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. 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 individuals with sensory impairments 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 2020
Area Establishments,
fourth quarter 2020
(thousands)
Employment Average weekly wage (1)
December 2020
(thousands)
Percent change,
December 2019–20 (2)
National ranking
by percent change (3)
Fourth quarter
2020
National ranking
by level (3)
Percent change,
fourth quarter 2019–20 (2)
National ranking
by percent change (3)

United States (4)

10,675.8 140,881.3 -6.1 -- $1,339 -- 13.0 --

California

1,660.2 16,380.1 -8.3 -- 1,724 3 18.5 1

Alameda

67.3 729.1 -8.9 296 1,831 15 16.5 29

Butte

8.4 75.1 -9.1 305 1,046 294 15.6 45

Contra Costa

35.3 340.3 -9.1 305 1,609 32 13.9 94

Fresno

38.9 376.4 -6.2 186 1,059 282 12.1 189

Kern

22.5 319.2 -4.4 103 1,069 275 11.0 248

Los Angeles

528.3 4,105.3 -10.5 337 1,612 31 12.4 176

Marin

12.9 104.3 -11.0 342 1,758 16 16.4 30

Merced

7.1 75.7 -5.3 142 998 323 13.3 127

Monterey

14.5 165.2 -8.8 294 1,100 250 9.9 295

Napa

6.0 67.0 -12.7 347 1,331 94 11.8 205

Orange

133.0 1,501.1 -9.6 320 1,513 47 16.6 27

Placer

14.4 163.3 -6.4 198 1,382 73 17.3 19

Riverside

72.7 739.8 -5.8 167 1,051 289 14.5 69

Sacramento

64.3 653.3 -5.3 142 1,407 65 10.5 266

San Bernardino

66.6 780.3 -3.8 74 1,115 236 14.7 64

San Diego

120.1 1,369.8 -9.3 314 1,564 41 19.2 9

San Francisco

62.2 665.6 -14.0 349 3,646 2 44.3 1

San Joaquin

19.2 256.5 -2.2 32 1,140 215 14.1 84

San Luis Obispo

10.9 107.3 -9.3 314 1,202 171 14.3 76

San Mateo

29.6 383.9 -9.2 310 3,435 3 31.0 2

Santa Barbara

16.2 197.9 -6.9 221 1,239 143 10.5 266

Santa Clara

76.8 1,047.3 -8.2 269 3,690 1 30.6 3

Santa Cruz

9.9 94.5 -8.2 269 1,241 142 0.2 356

Solano

12.0 131.5 -8.5 284 1,347 86 12.7 161

Sonoma

20.4 191.2 -10.1 330 1,378 76 15.0 52

Stanislaus

16.7 183.4 -4.3 100 1,106 246 11.7 211

Tulare

12.1 155.0 -4.2 97 963 339 13.2 130

Ventura

28.7 309.0 -7.7 252 1,329 95 14.7 64

Yolo

7.4 102.7 -4.7 114 1,376 77 11.2 233

Footnotes:
(1) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(2) Percent changes were computed from 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 2020
Area Employment December 2020 Average weekly wage(1)

United States(2)

140,881,253 $1,339

California

16,380,064 1,724

Alameda

729,068 1,831

Alpine

789 938

Amador

11,553 1,053

Butte

75,103 1,046

Calaveras

9,649 979

Colusa

8,480 1,053

Contra Costa

340,296 1,609

Del Norte

7,580 951

El Dorado

54,137 1,204

Fresno

376,366 1,059

Glenn

9,468 1,017

Humboldt

46,927 982

Imperial

60,823 938

Inyo

7,025 1,060

Kern

319,195 1,069

Kings

47,118 1,029

Lake

15,515 912

Lassen

9,257 1,107

Los Angeles

4,105,314 1,612

Madera

49,934 1,044

Marin

104,313 1,758

Mariposa

4,459 967

Mendocino

29,640 1,001

Merced

75,659 998

Modoc

2,418 943

Mono

6,265 920

Monterey

165,204 1,100

Napa

66,980 1,331

Nevada

30,116 1,135

Orange

1,501,090 1,513

Placer

163,282 1,382

Plumas

5,842 1,012

Riverside

739,814 1,051

Sacramento

653,254 1,407

San Benito

15,657 1,084

San Bernardino

780,280 1,115

San Diego

1,369,849 1,564

San Francisco

665,617 3,646

San Joaquin

256,476 1,140

San Luis Obispo

107,312 1,202

San Mateo

383,866 3,435

Santa Barbara

197,948 1,239

Santa Clara

1,047,311 3,690

Santa Cruz

94,521 1,241

Shasta

64,848 1,077

Sierra

529 953

Siskiyou

12,812 1,019

Solano

131,534 1,347

Sonoma

191,164 1,378

Stanislaus

183,357 1,106

Sutter

29,941 1,006

Tehama

18,530 1,055

Trinity

2,607 954

Tulare

154,979 963

Tuolumne

15,793 1,051

Ventura

309,028 1,329

Yolo

102,739 1,376

Yuba

18,694 1,171

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, fourth quarter 2020
State Establishments,
fourth quarter 2020
(thousands)
Employment Average weekly wage (1)
December 2020
(thousands)
Percent change,
December 2019–20
Fourth quarter
2020
National ranking
by level
Percent change,
fourth quarter 2019–20
National ranking
by percent change

United States (2)

10,675.8 140,881.3 -6.1 $1,339 -- 13.0 --

Alabama

134.6 1,951.2 -2.9 1,096 35 11.4 36

Alaska

23.1 290.1 -6.4 1,260 17 10.6 44

Arizona

173.9 2,908.7 -3.3 1,214 22 14.6 9

Arkansas

94.6 1,194.8 -3.2 999 49 11.4 36

California

1,660.2 16,380.1 -8.3 1,724 3 18.5 1

Colorado

219.6 2,613.7 -5.7 1,378 10 12.3 25

Connecticut

126.8 1,578.4 -6.5 1,551 6 12.2 27

Delaware

35.1 432.9 -5.2 1,262 16 11.3 38

District of Columbia

43.8 713.0 -8.9 2,293 1 15.2 6

Florida

765.4 8,642.8 -5.0 1,180 24 13.1 17

Georgia

319.7 4,405.9 -4.0 1,208 23 10.9 42

Hawaii

47.3 561.1 -16.1 1,219 21 16.0 4

Idaho

71.8 763.5 0.8 1,034 47 12.8 21

Illinois

386.3 5,573.8 -7.8 1,378 10 13.0 18

Indiana

173.1 2,985.1 -4.0 1,076 39 11.2 39

Iowa

105.6 1,494.3 -4.3 1,099 34 11.6 32

Kansas

89.9 1,346.9 -4.5 1,070 40 11.5 34

Kentucky

130.4 1,839.6 -4.8 1,057 42 10.8 43

Louisiana

140.8 1,796.9 -7.0 1,078 38 8.6 48

Maine

55.4 594.3 -4.3 1,092 36 14.5 10

Maryland

174.5 2,546.1 -6.7 1,445 8 13.6 16

Massachusetts

266.7 3,365.8 -8.3 1,766 2 17.0 3

Michigan

265.3 3,998.2 -8.9 1,257 19 12.8 21

Minnesota

186.4 2,684.1 -7.9 1,322 13 12.3 25

Mississippi

76.1 1,119.1 -2.4 901 51 10.4 45

Missouri

221.5 2,724.4 -4.3 1,127 33 11.6 32

Montana

54.6 467.4 -1.4 1,035 45 12.7 23

Nebraska

72.5 962.7 -2.9 1,079 37 11.5 34

Nevada

90.2 1,283.1 -10.7 1,178 25 14.4 11

New Hampshire

57.1 637.3 -5.2 1,406 9 17.9 2

New Jersey

291.0 3,860.5 -7.2 1,517 7 13.9 15

New Mexico

64.8 767.1 -9.5 1,052 43 11.8 29

New York

662.4 8,693.4 -10.3 1,712 4 14.2 13

North Carolina

301.7 4,431.0 -2.7 1,152 29 11.2 39

North Dakota

32.6 394.4 -7.1 1,136 31 4.7 50

Ohio

307.3 5,199.9 -5.1 1,161 27 12.0 28

Oklahoma

113.6 1,569.1 -4.4 1,013 48 7.3 49

Oregon

167.3 1,824.3 -7.5 1,256 20 14.2 13

Pennsylvania

370.5 5,549.4 -7.4 1,287 15 12.6 24

Rhode Island

40.7 449.6 -8.3 1,259 18 14.7 7

South Carolina

149.2 2,074.4 -3.5 1,035 45 11.1 41

South Dakota

35.5 422.8 -1.9 1,048 44 14.4 11

Tennessee

176.2 3,002.5 -2.7 1,172 26 11.7 30

Texas

743.1 12,251.1 -4.3 1,294 14 9.0 47

Utah

117.9 1,557.8 0.6 1,154 28 12.9 20

Vermont

26.6 286.1 -8.9 1,133 32 14.7 7

Virginia

289.8 3,796.1 -4.7 1,360 12 13.0 18

Washington

259.7 3,219.7 -6.8 1,589 5 16.0 4

West Virginia

51.9 654.1 -5.3 997 50 10.3 46

Wisconsin

184.2 2,762.5 -4.8 1,140 30 11.7 30

Wyoming

27.7 260.2 -5.3 1,061 41 4.6 51

Puerto Rico

46.0 873.8 -4.0 621 (3) 8.0 (3)

Virgin Islands

3.5 35.3 -11.5 1,057 (3) -1.3 (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.

Chart 3. Average weekly wages by county in California, fourth quarter 2020

 

Last Modified Date: Friday, August 06, 2021