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18-638-SAN
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

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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
Area Employment Average weekly wage (1)
September 2017 (thousands) Percent change, September 2016-17 (2) National ranking by percent change (3) Average weekly wage National ranking by level (3) Percent change, third quarter 2016-17 (2) National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

144,464.4 1.0 -- 1021 -- -0.6 --

Washington

3,343.4 2.0 -- 1208 5 1.7 1

Benton, Wash.

89.6 3.8 9 1030 92 -1.6 217

Clark, Wash.

158.0 4.6 4 975 136 0.7 43

King, Wash.

1,367.1 2.8 28 1626 8 2.7 12

Kitsap, Wash.

87.5 1.4 104 947 162 -2.4 281

Pierce, Wash.

305.1 1.1 145 953 154 0.3 59

Snohomish, Wash.

283.4 -0.8 321 1102 64 -0.5 111

Spokane, Wash.

220.8 1.4 104 889 214 0.7 43

Thurston, Wash.

114.8 3.3 16 946 164 1.9 15

Whatcom, Wash.

89.8 1.9 67 858 250 1.7 17

Yakima, Wash.

125.0 1.3 114 735 333 3.2 8

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
Area Employment September 2017 Average Weekly Wage(1)

United States(2)

144,464,425 $1,021

Washington

3,343,421 1,208

Adams

9,005 724

Asotin

6,535 735

Benton

89,594 1,030

Chelan

46,386 738

Clallam

23,397 763

Clark

157,971 975

Columbia

1,328 794

Cowlitz

39,001 925

Douglas

13,875 666

Ferry

1,826 791

Franklin

36,313 758

Garfield

760 837

Grant

43,501 755

Grays Harbor

23,272 775

Island

16,684 739

Jefferson

8,873 739

King

1,367,136 1,626

Kitsap

87,454 947

Kittitas

15,067 785

Klickitat

7,753 889

Lewis

25,756 783

Lincoln

2,878 732

Mason

13,929 783

Okanogan

19,999 634

Pacific

6,633 703

Pend Oreille

3,096 915

Pierce

305,087 953

San Juan

6,492 655

Skagit

51,501 900

Skamania

2,186 624

Snohomish

283,391 1,102

Spokane

220,780 889

Stevens

10,855 745

Thurston

114,810 946

Wahkiakum

718 695

Walla Walla

28,650 820

Whatcom

89,819 858

Whitman

18,809 887

Yakima

124,987 735

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
State Employment Average weekly wage (1)
September 2017 (thousands) Percent change, September 2016-17 Average weekly wage National ranking by level Percent change, third quarter 2016-17 National ranking by percent change

United States (2)

144,464.4 1.0 $1,021 -- -0.6 --

Alabama

1,941.1 0.8 859 37 -1.3 38

Alaska

335.4 -0.7 1,025 15 -2.8 50

Arizona

2,760.1 2.4 948 24 -0.2 10

Arkansas

1,213.0 0.6 788 49 -0.6 19

California

17,153.4 1.7 1,215 4 0.5 4

Colorado

2,625.9 1.9 1,067 9 0.5 4

Connecticut

1,676.3 0.1 1,179 6 -2.2 47

Delaware

443.0 0.4 1,026 14 0.4 6

District of Columbia

764.7 0.7 1,759 1 1.3 2

Florida

8,305.8 -0.2 896 29 -1.1 31

Georgia

4,343.5 1.3 961 21 -0.9 27

Hawaii

652.5 0.4 953 22 -0.3 13

Idaho

722.3 2.7 778 50 -0.5 16

Illinois

5,969.6 0.5 1,057 10 -0.3 13

Indiana

3,044.0 0.6 861 36 -0.6 19

Iowa

1,546.1 -0.2 855 38 -2.2 47

Kansas

1,376.4 -0.1 839 41 -2.1 46

Kentucky

1,890.4 0.5 837 42 -2.4 49

Louisiana

1,904.3 -0.1 869 33 -1.7 42

Maine

621.9 0.7 821 46 -0.5 16

Maryland

2,661.8 0.5 1,105 8 -1.7 42

Massachusetts

3,568.0 0.9 1,265 2 -0.9 27

Michigan

4,334.3 0.9 964 20 -1.1 31

Minnesota

2,883.0 1.1 1,030 13 -2.0 45

Mississippi

1,129.1 -0.1 729 51 -1.4 39

Missouri

2,805.8 0.9 878 31 -1.2 34

Montana

468.6 0.9 793 48 0.1 8

Nebraska

973.3 -0.2 850 39 -0.8 23

Nevada

1,337.7 2.9 914 26 -3.8 51

New Hampshire

659.1 0.6 1,022 16 -0.4 15

New Jersey

4,043.6 1.1 1,156 7 -1.5 41

New Mexico

816.0 0.3 823 45 -0.8 23

New York

9,329.8 1.2 1,219 3 -0.2 10

North Carolina

4,348.0 1.3 904 27 -0.7 21

North Dakota

419.2 -1.0 953 22 -1.2 34

Ohio

5,383.6 0.6 920 25 -0.8 23

Oklahoma

1,593.3 0.7 843 40 -1.2 34

Oregon

1,905.3 1.8 969 19 -0.1 9

Pennsylvania

5,836.5 1.0 1,002 17 -1.1 31

Rhode Island

484.5 0.8 973 18 -1.8 44

South Carolina

2,027.2 0.8 828 43 -0.5 16

South Dakota

426.2 0.4 803 47 -0.7 21

Tennessee

2,953.3 1.1 903 28 -1.2 34

Texas

12,008.9 1.4 1,032 12 -1.0 29

Utah

1,444.1 2.6 879 30 -0.2 10

Vermont

310.3 0.1 869 33 -1.4 39

Virginia

3,843.6 1.0 1,053 11 -0.8 23

Washington

3,343.4 2.0 1,208 5 1.7 1

West Virginia

694.0 0.2 826 44 1.1 3

Wisconsin

2,866.9 0.5 876 32 -1.0 29

Wyoming

276.2 0.3 868 35 0.3 7

Puerto Rico

862.8 -3.1 509 (3) -2.7 (3)

Virgin Islands

36.9 -1.1 763 (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