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19-682-SAN
Thursday, April 18, 2019

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County Employment and Wages in Washington – Third Quarter 2018

Employment increased in 9 of Washington’s 10 large counties from September 2017 to September 2018, 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 2017 annual average employment.) Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Richard Holden noted that employment increases ranged from 3.4 percent in Thurston County to 1.4 percent in Whatcom County. Employment decreased 0.1 percent in Yakima County. (See table 1.)

Nationally, employment advanced 1.6 percent from September 2017 to September 2018 as 295 of the 349 largest U.S. counties gained jobs. Midland, Texas, had the largest percentage increase in the country, up 11.9 percent over the year. New Hanover, N.C., had the largest over-the-year decrease in employment with a loss of 2.0 percent.

Among the 10 largest counties in Washington, employment was highest in King County (1,404,000) in September 2018, while Kitsap County had the smallest employment level (90,500). Together, Washington’s large counties accounted for 85.0 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 349 largest counties made up 73.0 percent of total U.S. employment, which stood at 146.8 million in September 2018.

Average weekly wages increased in all of Washington’s 10 largest counties from the third quarter of 2017 to the third quarter of 2018. King County had the largest wage gain at 7.9 percent, followed by Whatcom County at 5.3 percent and Thurston County at 5.1 percent. King County had the highest average weekly wage ($1,752), followed by Snohomish County ($1,132) and Benton County ($1,063). (See table 1.) Nationally, the average weekly wage advanced 3.3 percent over the year to $1,055 in the third quarter of 2018.

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 2018. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

All 10 large counties in Washington had increases in average weekly wages from the third quarter of 2017 to the third quarter of 2018. King County’s 7.9-percent wage gain placed second among the nation’s 349 large counties. Two other Washington counties ranked in the top 25 nationwide, Whatcom (5.3 percent, 21st) and Thurston (5.1 percent, 23rd). (See table 1.)

Nationally, 336 of the 349 largest counties had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages in the third quarter of 2018. Chatham, GA, had the largest third quarter over-the-year wage gain at 8.5 percent, followed by King, WA, and Santa Clara, CA, and Stanislaus, CA, each at 7.8 percent.

Of the 349 largest U.S. counties, 11 had over-the-year decreases in average weekly wages. Elkhart, IN, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease with a loss of 4.2 percent. Elkhart was followed by Union, NJ (-3.7 percent); Providence, RI (-3.4 percent); and Forsyth, NC (-3.0 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 ($1,752, 6th); Snohomish ($1,132, 61st); and Benton (1,063, 92nd) had weekly wages that exceeded the national average in the third quarter of 2018. The two counties with the lowest average weekly wages—Whatcom ($898, 237th) and Yakima ($764, 332nd)—placed in the bottom third of the largest U.S. counties.

Nationally, 94 large counties had average weekly wages above the U.S. average of $1,055 in the third quarter of 2018. Santa Clara, CA, held the top position with an average weekly wage of $2,460. San Mateo, CA, was second at $2,363, followed by San Francisco, CA ($2,097); New York, NY ($1,997); and Washington, DC ($1,807).

Among the largest U.S. counties, 255 had weekly wages below the national average in the third quarter of 2018. Cameron, TX, had the lowest wage ($632), followed by Horry, SC ($635); Hidalgo, TX ($662); and Webb, TX ($698).

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 $1,055. Among these counties, Cowlitz County had the highest average weekly wage at $969. Okanogan County reported the lowest weekly wage among all counties in the state, averaging $650 in the third quarter of 2018. (See table 2.)

When all 39 counties in Washington were considered, 3 had wages below $700. Fourteen counties had average weekly wages ranging from $700 to $799, 8 had wages from $800 to $899, 10 had wages from $900 to $999, and 4 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 2018 version of the national news release. Tables and additional content from Employment and Wages Annual Averages 2017 are now available online 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 fourth quarter 2018 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.

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

United States (4)

146,824.1 1.6 -- $1,055 -- 3.3 --

Washington

3,425.6 2.4 -- 1,280 3 6.2 2

Benton, Wash.

91.3 2.0 95 1,063 92 2.9 169

Clark, Wash.

162.8 2.9 53 1,015 128 4.6 38

King, Wash.

1,404.0 2.8 55 1,752 6 7.9 2

Kitsap, Wash.

90.5 3.1 43 982 158 4.1 59

Pierce, Wash.

312.9 2.1 85 989 150 4.2 52

Snohomish, Wash.

289.2 2.2 78 1,132 61 3.8 86

Spokane, Wash.

225.9 2.0 95 913 218 2.7 196

Thurston, Wash.

118.8 3.4 38 996 141 5.1 23

Whatcom, Wash.

91.3 1.4 139 898 237 5.3 21

Yakima, Wash.

125.4 -0.1 307 764 332 3.9 73

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 2018
Area Employment September 2018 Average Weekly Wage(1)

United States(2)

146,824,093 $1,055

Washington

3,425,553 1,280

Adams

9,694 736

Asotin

6,609 760

Benton

91,268 1,063

Chelan

49,420 746

Clallam

23,781 785

Clark

162,798 1,015

Columbia

1,324 828

Cowlitz

39,417 969

Douglas

13,911 682

Ferry

1,756 794

Franklin

35,751 816

Garfield

721 962

Grant

44,019 793

Grays Harbor

23,508 805

Island

16,818 770

Jefferson

9,058 752

King

1,404,005 1,752

Kitsap

90,484 982

Kittitas

15,561 818

Klickitat

7,633 945

Lewis

26,629 830

Lincoln

3,001 749

Mason

14,323 802

Okanogan

19,998 650

Pacific

6,628 720

Pend Oreille

3,233 936

Pierce

312,905 989

San Juan

6,406 709

Skagit

53,171 944

Skamania

2,157 682

Snohomish

289,213 1,132

Spokane

225,851 913

Stevens

10,743 778

Thurston

118,823 996

Wahkiakum

729 718

Walla Walla

29,264 842

Whatcom

91,306 898

Whitman

19,235 918

Yakima

125,443 764

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

United States (2)

146,824.1 1.6 $1,055 -- 3.3 --

Alabama

1,966.0 1.2 885 38 3.1 25

Alaska

334.0 -0.4 1,065 13 3.7 12

Arizona

2,838.6 2.8 974 23 2.9 31

Arkansas

1,222.1 0.7 811 49 2.9 31

California

17,457.5 1.8 1,260 5 3.8 9

Colorado

2,684.0 2.1 1,104 9 3.5 18

Connecticut

1,681.5 0.3 1,209 6 2.5 41

Delaware

447.8 0.6 1,046 15 2.4 42

District of Columbia

770.7 0.7 1,807 1 2.8 36

Florida

8,690.7 4.6 924 29 3.1 25

Georgia

4,448.8 2.3 993 20 3.3 21

Hawaii

654.7 0.0 975 22 2.4 42

Idaho

743.5 3.0 805 50 3.2 23

Illinois

6,029.2 0.8 1,087 10 3.0 28

Indiana

3,072.3 0.9 883 39 2.4 42

Iowa

1,555.0 0.6 887 37 3.7 12

Kansas

1,390.4 1.0 867 42 3.5 18

Kentucky

1,898.7 0.5 855 43 2.2 47

Louisiana

1,915.4 0.5 901 33 3.7 12

Maine

626.5 0.6 851 45 3.7 12

Maryland

2,683.9 0.7 1,130 8 2.4 42

Massachusetts

3,598.1 0.7 1,305 2 3.2 23

Michigan

4,366.5 0.8 991 21 2.8 36

Minnesota

2,904.3 0.8 1,074 12 4.2 5

Mississippi

1,133.7 0.2 754 51 3.4 20

Missouri

2,812.0 0.4 907 31 3.3 21

Montana

473.3 1.0 815 48 2.8 36

Nebraska

980.3 0.6 873 41 2.8 36

Nevada

1,382.9 3.4 936 28 2.4 42

New Hampshire

662.3 0.5 1,040 16 1.7 49

New Jersey

4,072.6 0.8 1,181 7 2.1 48

New Mexico

826.2 1.2 855 43 3.9 7

New York

9,467.5 1.4 1,272 4 4.2 5

North Carolina

4,398.0 1.1 938 26 3.8 9

North Dakota

424.3 1.1 995 19 4.4 3

Ohio

5,424.4 0.7 947 25 2.9 31

Oklahoma

1,616.8 1.2 874 40 3.6 16

Oregon

1,939.8 1.5 1,005 18 3.8 9

Pennsylvania

5,894.8 1.0 1,031 17 3.0 28

Rhode Island

489.4 1.0 963 24 -1.3 51

South Carolina

2,088.2 2.8 834 46 0.8 50

South Dakota

431.5 1.3 827 47 3.0 28

Tennessee

3,005.6 1.7 938 26 3.9 7

Texas

12,327.0 2.6 1,064 14 3.1 25

Utah

1,494.4 3.4 911 30 3.6 16

Vermont

310.9 0.0 892 36 2.6 40

Virginia

3,889.6 1.1 1,082 11 2.9 31

Washington

3,425.6 2.4 1,280 3 6.2 2

West Virginia

706.0 1.7 894 35 8.1 1

Wisconsin

2,888.9 0.7 901 33 2.9 31

Wyoming

278.2 0.6 905 32 4.3 4

Puerto Rico

862.5 0.2 534 (3) 5.3 (3)

Virgin Islands

33.4 -8.0 888 (3) 18.6 (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: Thursday, April 18, 2019