Economic News Release

County Employment and Wages News Release


Technical information:(202) 691-6567    USDL 08-1459 
       	     http://www.bls.gov/cew/ 
                                        For release:  10:00 A.M. EDT 
Media contact:              691-5902    Friday, October 17, 2008 


    (NOTE: This news release was reissued on Tuesday, November 4, 
  2008, to correct two items in the Large County Average Weekly 
  Wages section on page 3. In the second sentence of the first paragraph, 
  the number of counties with average weekly wages higher than the 
  national average was corrected from "183" to "92".  In the first 
  sentence of the second paragraph, the number of counties with 
  average weekly wages below the national average was corrected from
  "137" to "241". No other changers were made.) 


          COUNTY EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES:  FIRST QUARTER 2008 

  In March 2008, Orleans County, La., had the largest over-the-year 
percentage increase in employment among the largest counties in the 
U.S., according to preliminary data released today by the Bureau of 
Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. Orleans County, 
which includes the city of New Orleans, experienced an over-the-year 
employment gain of 5.0 percent, compared with national job growth of 
0.4 percent. Westmoreland County, Pa., near Pittsburgh, had the 
largest over-the-year gain in average weekly wages in the first 
quarter of 2008, with an increase of 14.9 percent due to an increase 
in the professional and business services supersector. The U.S. 
average weekly wage rose by 2.4 percent over the same time span. 
 
  Of the 334 largest counties in the United States, as measured by 
2007 annual average employment, 146 had over-the-year percentage 
growth in employment above the national average (0.4 percent) in 
March 2008; 178 large counties experienced changes below the national 
average. The percent change in average weekly wages was higher than 
the national average (2.4 percent) in 183 of the largest U.S. 
counties but was below the national average in 137 counties.  


Table A.  Top 10 large counties ranked by March 2008 employment, March 2007-08 employment growth,  
and March 2007-08 percent growth in employment  

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Employment in large counties
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
       March 2008 employment      |       Growth in employment,      |   Percent growth in employment, 
            (thousands)           |           March 2007-08          |           March 2007-08
                                  |            (thousands)           |                  
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  |                                  |                                  
 United States           134,761.1| United States               481.0| United States                 0.4
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  |                                  |                                  
 Los Angeles, Calif.       4,229.6| Harris, Texas                67.2| Orleans, La.                  5.0
 Cook, Ill.                2,490.4| New York, N.Y.               38.7| Fort Bend, Texas              4.7
 New York, N.Y.            2,376.0| King, Wash.                  31.0| Montgomery, Texas             4.7
 Harris, Texas             2,046.5| Dallas, Texas                29.1| Williamson, Texas             4.6
 Maricopa, Ariz.           1,805.2| Bexar, Texas                 20.2| Douglas, Colo.                4.1
 Orange, Calif.            1,504.9| Tarrant, Texas               17.6| Potter, Texas                 4.1
 Dallas, Texas             1,489.7| Santa Clara, Calif.          16.8| Cass, N.D.                    3.8
 San Diego, Calif.         1,327.6| San Francisco, Calif.        16.1| El Paso, Texas                3.7
 King, Wash.               1,186.2| Los Angeles, Calif.          15.2| Yakima, Wash.                 3.6
 Miami-Dade, Fla.          1,029.9| Wake, N.C.                   15.2| Wake, N.C.                    3.5
                                  |                                  |                                  
                                  |                                  |                                  
                                  |                                  |                                  
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


  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 134.8 million full- and 
part-time workers. The attached tables contain data for the nation 
and for the 334 U.S. counties with annual average employment levels 
of 75,000 or more in 2007. March 2008 employment and 2008 first-
quarter average weekly wages for all states are provided in table 4 
of this release. Data for all states, metropolitan statistical areas, 
counties, and the nation through the fourth quarter of 2007 are 
available on the BLS Web site at http://www.bls.gov/cew.  Preliminary 
data for first quarter 2008 and final data for 2007 will be available 
later in October on the BLS Web site. 


Large County Employment 

  In March 2008, national employment, as measured by the QCEW 
program, was 134.8 million, up by 0.4 percent from March 2007. The 
334 U.S. counties with 75,000 or more employees accounted for 71.5 
percent of total U.S. employment and 78.3 percent of total wages. 
These 334 counties had a net job gain of 198,000 over the year, 
accounting for 41.2 percent of the overall U.S. employment increase. 
Employment rose in 189 of the large counties from March 2007 to March 
2008. Orleans County, La., had the largest over-the-year percentage 
increase in employment (5.0 percent). Fort Bend, Texas, and 
Montgomery, Texas, tied for the next largest increase, 4.7 percent, 
followed by the counties of Williamson, Texas (4.6 percent), and 
Douglas, Colo., and Potter, Texas (4.1 percent each).  

  Employment declined in 129 counties from March 2007 to March 2008. 
The largest percentage decline in employment was in Lee, Fla. (-8.1 
percent). Collier, Fla., had the next largest employment decline 
(-7.4 percent), followed by the counties of Genesee, Mich. (-6.5 
percent), Saginaw, Mich. (-5.2 percent), and Marion, Fla., (-5.1 
percent). 

  The largest gains in the level of employment from March 2007 to 
March 2008 were recorded in the counties of Harris, Texas (67,200), 
New York, N.Y. (38,700), King, Wash. (31,000), Dallas, Texas 
(29,100), and Bexar, Texas (20,200). (See table A.) The largest 
decline in employment levels occurred in Maricopa, Ariz. (-25,100), 
followed by the counties of Hillsborough, Fla. (-23,700), Wayne, 
Mich. (-23,000), Oakland, Mich. (-19,500), and Lee, Fla. (-19,400). 


Table B.  Top 10 large counties ranked by first quarter 2008 average weekly wages, first quarter 2007-08 
growth in average weekly wages, and first quarter 2007-08 percent growth in average weekly wages 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Average weekly wage in large counties
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Average weekly wage,      |     Growth in average weekly     |     Percent growth in average 
         first quarter 2008       |    wage, first quarter 2007-08   |         weekly wage, first
                                  |                                  |          quarter 2007-08
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  |                                  |                                  
 United States                $905| United States                 $21| United States                 2.4
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  |                                  |                                  
 New York, N.Y.             $2,805| Somerset, N.J.               $146| Westmoreland, Pa.            14.9
 Fairfield, Conn.            1,905| Westmoreland, Pa.              98| Williamson, Texas            10.8
 Somerset, N.J.              1,765| Williamson, Texas              89| Somerset, N.J.                9.0
 Suffolk, Mass.              1,708| Hudson, N.J.                   87| San Luis Obispo, Calif.       8.3
 San Francisco, Calif.       1,639| Mercer, N.J.                   66| Jefferson, Texas              7.9
 Santa Clara, Calif.         1,631| New London, Conn.              64| New London, Conn.             7.3
 Hudson, N.J.                1,528| Jefferson, Texas               63| Adams, Colo.                  6.8
 Washington, D.C.            1,488| Washington, D.C.               62| Pima, Ariz.                   6.7
 Arlington, Va.              1,473| Hennepin, Minn.                59| Clayton, Ga.                  6.7
 San Mateo, Calif.           1,457| McLean, Ill.                   58| McLean, Ill.                  6.7
                                  | Hillsborough, N.H.             58|                                  
                                  | Washington, Ore.               58|                                  
                                  |                                  |                                  
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Large County Average Weekly Wages 

  The national average weekly wage in the first quarter of 2008 was 
$905. Average weekly wages were higher than the national average in 
92 of the largest 334 U.S. counties. New York, N.Y., held the top 
position among the highest-paid large counties with an average weekly 
wage of $2,805. Fairfield, Conn., was second with an average weekly 
wage of $1,905, followed by Somerset, N.J. ($1,765), Suffolk, Mass. 
($1,708), and San Francisco, Calif. ($1,639). (See table B.) 

  There were 241 counties with an average weekly wage below the 
national average in the first quarter of 2008. The lowest average 
weekly wage was reported in Cameron County, Texas ($523), followed by 
the counties of Hidalgo, Texas ($532), Horry, S.C. ($534), Webb, 
Texas ($554), and Yakima, Wash. ($587). (See table 1.) 

  Over the year, the national average weekly wage rose by 2.4 
percent. Among the largest counties, Westmoreland, Pa., led the  
nation in growth in average weekly wages, with an increase of 14.9 
percent from the first quarter of 2007. Williamson, Texas, was second 
with growth of 10.8 percent, followed by the counties of Somerset, 
N.J. (9.0 percent), San Luis Obispo, Calif. (8.3 percent), and 
Jefferson, Texas (7.9 percent). 

  Thirty-four large counties experienced over-the-year declines in 
average weekly wages. Trumbull, Ohio, had the largest decrease (-17.2 
percent), followed by the counties of Saginaw, Mich. (-4.4 percent), 
Rockingham, N.H. (-3.9 percent), Fairfield, Conn. (-3.8 percent), and 
Mecklenburg, N.C. (-3.4 percent). 

Ten Largest U.S. Counties 

  Five of the 10 largest counties (based on 2007 annual average 
employment levels) experienced over-the-year percent increases in 
employment in March 2008. Harris, Texas, experienced the largest 
percent gain in employment (3.4 percent) among the 10 largest 
counties. Within Harris County, the largest gains in employment were 
in natural resources and mining (5.5 percent) and construction (5.4 
percent). King, Wash., had the next largest increase in employment, 
2.7 percent, followed by Dallas, Texas (2.0 percent). Maricopa, 
Ariz., experienced the largest decline in employment among the 10 
largest counties with a 1.4 percent decrease. Within Maricopa, six 
industry groups experienced employment declines, with construction 
experiencing the largest decline, -14.2 percent. Orange, Calif., had 
the next largest decline in employment, -1.1 percent, followed by 
Miami-Dade, Fla. (-1.0 percent). (See table 2.) 

  Nine of the 10 largest U.S. counties saw an over-the-year increase 
in average weekly wages. King, Wash., had the fastest growth in wages 
among the 10 largest counties, with a gain of 4.2 percent. Within 
King County, average weekly wages increased the most in the 
information industry (12.8 percent), followed by the other services 
industry (7.7 percent). Harris, Texas, was second in wage growth with 
a gain of 3.8 percent, followed by Cook, Ill. (2.7 percent). The 
smallest wage gain occurred in Orange, Calif. (1.2 percent), followed 
by Maricopa, Ariz. (1.3 percent). The only wage decline among the 10 
largest counties occurred in New York, N.Y. (-1.0 percent).  

  Within New York County, two industry groups experienced over-the-
year wage declines in the first quarter of 2008--manufacturing 
(-4.1 percent) and financial activities (-3.7 percent). Financial 
activities employs ten times more workers than manufacturing in New 
York County and had the county's highest average weekly wages. The 
declines for the first quarter of 2008 follow over-the-year average 
weekly wage gains of 14.6 percent in manufacturing and 24.2 percent 
in financial activities in the first quarter of 2007. 

Largest County by State 

  Table 3 shows March 2008 employment and the 2008 first quarter 
average weekly wage in the largest county in each state, which is 
based on 2007 annual average employment levels. (This table includes 
one county--Laramie, Wyo.--that had an employment level below 75,000 
in 2007.) The employment levels in the counties in table 3 in March 
2008 ranged from approximately 4.23 million in Los Angeles County, 
Calif., to 43,100 in Laramie County, Wyo. The highest average weekly 
wage of these counties was in New York, N.Y. ($2,805), while the 
lowest average weekly wage was in Yellowstone, Mont. ($695). 

For More Information 

  For additional information about the quarterly employment and wages 
data, please read the Technical Note or visit the QCEW Web site at 
http://www.bls.gov/cew/. Additional information about the QCEW data 
also 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 second quarter 2008 is 
scheduled to be released on Tuesday, January 13, 2009. 


   ----------------------------------------------------------------------
  |                                                                      |
  |        County Changes for the 2008 County Employment and Wages       |
  |                   News Releases: Six Counties Added                  |
  |                                                                      |
  |   Counties with annual average employment of 75,000 or more in 2007  |
  | are included in this release.  For 2008 data, six counties have      |
  | been added to the publication tables: Shelby, Ala., Boone, Ky.,      |
  | St. Tammany, La., Yellowstone, Mont., Warren, Ohio, and Potter,      |
  | Texas.                                                               |
  |                                                                      |
  |                                                                      |
  |                                                                      |
   ----------------------------------------------------------------------