Economic News Release

County Employment and Wages News Release


For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT), Wednesday, July 7, 2010 USDL-10-0932 
 
Technical Information:  (202) 691-6567  *  QCEWInfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cew 
Media Contact:  (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov 
 
 
County Employment and Wages 
Fourth Quarter 2009 
 
 
From December 2008 to December 2009, employment declined in 325 of 
the 334 largest U.S. counties according to preliminary data, the U.S. 
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Trumbull, Ohio, posted the 
largest percentage decline, with a loss of 8.6 percent over the year, 
compared with a national job decrease of 4.1 percent. Almost 54 
percent of the employment decline in Trumbull occurred in 
manufacturing, which lost 3,504 jobs over the year (-22.7 percent). 
Arlington, Va., experienced the largest over-the-year percentage 
increase in employment among the largest counties in the U.S., with a 
gain of 0.5 percent.  
 
The U.S. average weekly wage increased by 2.5 percent over the year.  
Among the large counties in the U.S., Douglas, Colo., had the largest 
over-the-year increase in average weekly wages in the fourth quarter 
of 2009, with a gain of 26.1 percent. Within Douglas, professional 
and business services had the largest over-the-year increase in 
average weekly wages with a gain of 99.8 percent. A fourth-quarter 
acquisition in this industry resulted in large payouts, which may 
include bonuses, severance pay, and stock options. St. Louis City, 
Mo., experienced the largest decline in average weekly wages with a 
loss of 33.9 percent over the year. This decline reflects a return 
from very high levels in 2008 caused by an acquisition in 
professional and business services and manufacturing. 

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  |                                                                      |
  | A redesign of the County Employment and Wages news release will be   |
  | implemented with the first quarter 2010 release. Table 3, along with |
  | the associated text on the largest county by state, will be removed. |  
  |                                                                      | 
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Table A.  Top 10 large counties ranked by December 2009 employment, December 2008-09 employment 
decrease, and December 2008-09 percent decrease in employment  

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                                       Employment in large counties
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      December 2009 employment    |      Decrease in employment,     |  Percent decrease in employment, 
            (thousands)           |          December 2008-09        |          December 2008-09
                                  |            (thousands)           |                  
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                                  |                                  |                                  
 United States           128,334.9| United States            -5,521.5| United States                -4.1
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                                  |                                  |                                  
 Los Angeles, Calif.       3,926.0| Los Angeles, Calif.        -217.9| Trumbull, Ohio               -8.6
 Cook, Ill.                2,369.9| Maricopa, Ariz.            -113.0| Oakland, Mich.               -8.1
 New York, N.Y.            2,294.4| Cook, Ill.                 -111.1| Peoria, Ill.                 -8.0
 Harris, Texas             1,990.2| New York, N.Y.              -93.6| Seminole, Fla.               -7.9
 Maricopa, Ariz.           1,626.8| Harris, Texas               -90.0| Sedgwick, Kan.               -7.7
 Dallas, Texas             1,409.9| Orange, Calif.              -89.7| Tulare, Calif.               -7.6
 Orange, Calif.            1,361.4| San Diego, Calif.           -64.6| Winnebago, Ill.              -7.6
 San Diego, Calif.         1,245.3| Dallas, Texas               -63.6| Catawba, N.C.                -7.5
 King, Wash.               1,119.1| Clark, Nev.                 -60.7| Kern, Calif.                 -7.4
 Miami-Dade, Fla.            959.7| Santa Clara, Calif.         -56.8| Macomb, Mich.                -7.3
                                  |                                  |                                  
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Of the 334 largest counties in the United States (as measured by 2008 
annual average employment), 159 had over-the-year percentage declines 
in employment greater than or equal to the national average (-4.1 
percent) in December 2009, 166 large counties experienced smaller 
declines than the national average, and 3 counties experienced 
employment gains. The percent change in average weekly wages was 
equal to or greater than the national average (2.5 percent) in 196 of 
the largest U.S. counties and was below the national average in 133 
counties.  

The employment and 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 reports 
submitted by every employer subject to unemployment insurance (UI) 
laws. The 9.1 million employer reports cover 128.3 million full- and 
part-time workers.  
 
Large County Employment 
 
In December 2009, national employment, as measured by the QCEW 
program, was 128.3 million, down by 4.1 percent from December 2008. 
The 334 U.S. counties with 75,000 or more employees accounted for 
71.4 percent of total U.S. employment and 77.1 percent of total 
wages. These 334 counties had a net job decline of 4,119,900 over the 
year, accounting for 74.6 percent of the overall U.S. employment 
decrease.  
 
Employment declined in 325 counties from December 2008 to December 
2009. The largest percentage decline in employment was in Trumbull, 
Ohio (-8.6 percent). Oakland, Mich., had the next largest percentage 
decline (-8.1 percent), followed by the counties of Peoria, Ill. 
(-8.0 percent), Seminole, Fla. (-7.9 percent), and Sedgwick, Kan. (-7.7 
percent). The largest decline in employment levels occurred in Los 
Angeles, Calif. (-217,900), followed by the counties of Maricopa, 
Ariz. (-113,000), Cook, Ill. (-111,100), New York, N.Y. (-93,600), 
and Harris, Texas (-90,000). (See table A.) Combined employment 
losses in these five counties over the year totaled 625,600, or 11.3 
percent of the employment decline for the U.S. as a whole. 

Table B.  Top 10 large counties ranked by fourth quarter 2009 average weekly wages, fourth quarter 2008-09 
increase in average weekly wages, and fourth quarter 2008-09 percent increase in average weekly wages 

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                                  Average weekly wage in large counties
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        Average weekly wage,      |    Increase in average weekly    |    Percent increase in average 
        fourth quarter 2009       |    wage, fourth quarter 2008-09  |        weekly wage, fourth
                                  |                                  |          quarter 2008-09
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                                  |                                  |                                  
 United States                $942| United States                 $23| United States                 2.5
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                                  |                                  |                                  
 New York, N.Y.             $1,878| Douglas, Colo.               $244| Douglas, Colo.               26.1
 Santa Clara, Calif.         1,699| Santa Clara, Calif.           129| Alachua, Fla.                10.1
 Washington, D.C.            1,614| Durham, N.C.                  108| Durham, N.C.                  9.5
 Fairfield, Conn.            1,607| Arlington, Va.                 87| Elkhart, Ind.                 8.6
 Arlington, Va.              1,594| Montgomery, Md.                76| Santa Clara, Calif.           8.2
 Suffolk, Mass.              1,565| Alachua, Fla.                  74| Montgomery, Ala.              8.0
 San Francisco, Calif.       1,539| Fairfax, Va.                   73| McLean, Ill.                  7.9
 Fairfax, Va.                1,489| Montgomery, Ala.               66| Okaloosa, Fla.                7.5
 San Mateo, Calif.           1,477| McLean, Ill.                   66| McLennan, Texas               7.4
 Morris, N.J.                1,429| Morris, N.J.                   64| Lucas, Ohio                   7.0
                                  | Montgomery, Pa.                64|                                  
                                  |                                  |                                  
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Employment rose in three of the large counties from December 2008 to 
December 2009. Arlington, Va., had the largest over-the-year 
percentage increase in employment (0.5 percent), followed by Bronx, 
N.Y., and Kings, N.Y. (0.2 percent each).  
 
Large County Average Weekly Wages 
 
Average weekly wages for the nation increased by 2.5 percent over the 
year ending in the fourth quarter of 2009. Among the 334 largest 
counties, 305 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages in 
the fourth quarter. The largest wage gain occurred in Douglas, Colo., 
with an increase of 26.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008. 
Alachua, Fla., had the second largest gain (10.1 percent), followed 
by the counties of Durham, N.C. (9.5 percent), Elkhart, Ind. (8.6 
percent), and Santa Clara, Calif. (8.2 percent). (See table B.) 
 
Of the 334 largest counties, 23 experienced declines in average 
weekly wages. St. Louis City, Mo., led the nation in average weekly 
wage decline with a loss of 33.9 percent over the year. Within St. 
Louis City, large payouts related to an acquisition were distributed 
within professional and business services and manufacturing 
industries in the fourth quarter of 2008.  Manufacturing had the 
largest over-the-year decline in average weekly wages (-57.9 percent) 
followed by professional and business services (-56.2 percent). 
Somerset, N.J., had the second largest overall decline (-6.2 
percent), followed by the counties of Clayton, Ga. (-5.3 percent), 
Calcasieu, La. (-5.1 percent), and Lake, Ind. (-3.4 percent). 
 
The national average weekly wage in the fourth quarter of 2009 was 
$942. Average weekly wages were higher than the national average in 
105 of the 334 largest U.S. counties. New York, N.Y., held the top 
position among the highest-paid large counties with an average weekly 
wage of $1,878. Santa Clara, Calif., was second with an average 
weekly wage of $1,699, followed by Washington, D.C. ($1,614), 
Fairfield, Conn. ($1,607), and Arlington, Va. ($1,594). There were 
226 counties with an average weekly wage below the national average 
in the fourth quarter of 2009. The lowest average weekly wage was 
reported in Horry, S.C. ($584), followed by the counties of Cameron, 
Texas, Hidalgo, Texas ($598 each), Webb, Texas ($619), and Yakima, 
Wash. ($640). (See table 1.) 
 
Average weekly wages are affected not only by changes in total wages 
but also by employment changes in high- and low-paying industries. 
(See Technical Note.) The 2.5-percent over-the-year increase in 
average weekly wages for the nation was partially due to large 
employment declines in low-paying industries such as trade, 
transportation, and utilities. (See table 2.)  
 
Ten Largest U.S. Counties 
 
All of the 10 largest counties (based on 2008 annual average 
employment levels) experienced over-the-year percent declines in 
employment in December 2009. Maricopa, Ariz., experienced the largest 
decline in employment among the 10 largest counties with a 6.5 
percent decrease. Within Maricopa, every private industry group 
except education and health services experienced an employment 
decline, with construction experiencing the largest decline (-28.5 
percent). (See table 2.) Orange, Calif., had the next largest decline 
in employment (-6.2 percent), followed by Los Angeles, Calif. (-5.3 
percent). New York, N.Y., experienced the smallest decline in 
employment (-3.9 percent) among the 10 largest counties. Dallas, 
Texas, and Harris, Texas, had the second smallest employment losses 
(-4.3 percent each).  
 
All of the 10 largest U.S. counties saw an over-the-year increase in 
average weekly wages. San Diego, Claif., experienced the largest 
increase in average weekly wages among the 10 largest counties with a 
gain of 3.7 percent. This average weekly wage growth was a result of 
a large employment loss in the professional and business services 
supersector. Employment dropped by 7.2 percent while total wages only 
dropped by 2.7 percent, thus average weekly wages for this 
supersector increased by 4.8 percent. San Diego’s average weekly wage 
growth was followed by King, Wash. (3.6 percent), and Maricopa, Ariz. 
(3.4 percent).  
 
Largest County by State 
 
Table 3 shows December 2009 employment and the 2009 fourth quarter 
average weekly wage in the largest county in each state, which is 
based on 2008 annual average employment levels. The employment levels 
in the counties ranged from 3.9 million in Los Angeles, Calif., to 
42,600 in Laramie, Wyo. The highest average weekly wage of these 
counties was in New York, N.Y. ($1,878), while the lowest average 
weekly wage was in Yellowstone, Mont. ($768).                     

For More Information 
 
The tables included in this release contain data for the nation and 
for the 334 U.S. counties with annual average employment levels of 
75,000 or more in 2008. December 2009 employment and 2009 fourth 
quarter average weekly wages for all states are provided in table 4 
of this release. 
 
For additional information about the quarterly employment and wages 
data, please read the Technical Note. Data for the fourth quarter of 
2009 will be available at http://www.bls.gov/cew/. Additional 
information about the QCEW data may be obtained by calling (202) 691-
6567. 
 
Several BLS regional offices are issuing QCEW news releases targeted 
to local data users. For links to these releases, see 
http://www.bls.gov/cew/cewregional.htm. 
 
_____________  
The County Employment and Wages release for first quarter 2010 is 
scheduled to be released on Tuesday, October 19, 2010. 

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  | The QCEW State and County Map application was released on June 30,   |
  | 2010 (http://beta.bls.gov/maps). This new feature of the BLS         |
  | website provides users with supersector industry employment and      |
  | wages at the national, state, and county levels. Data are presented  |
  | in map, tabular, and downloadable formats.                           |                              
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