New York-New Jersey Information Office

For release: Thursday, August 5, 2010                                  NYLS - 7442

Technical information: Martin Kohli (646) 264-3620 • BLSInfoNY@bls.gov • www.bls.gov/ro2
Media contact:         Michael L. Dolfman (212) 337-2500


          EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS - FOURTH QUARTER 2009
        St. Thomas’ rate of employment loss smaller and rate of wage growth
                         larger than for territory and U.S.

Employment in St. Thomas, the largest county in the Virgin Islands, stood at 23,300 in December 2009, after 
decreasing 2.7 percent over the year. Regional Commissioner Michael L. Dolfman noted that the county’s 
employment decline was less than the 3.7-percent drop reported for the Virgin Islands as a whole over the 
same time period. For the United States, employment fell by 4.1 percent from December 2008. (See chart 1.)

Between the fourth quarter of 2008 and the fourth quarter of 2009, average weekly wages in St. Thomas 
increased 3.7 percent, exceeding the territory-wide rise of 2.2 percent. In the United States, wages 
advanced 2.5 percent. (See chart 2.)

In the fourth quarter of 2009, weekly wages averaged $696 in St. Thomas, $50 less than the territory-wide 
average of $746. The St. Thomas wage level was almost $250, or 26 percent, below the U.S. average of $942. 
Although lower than the United States’ average, weekly wages in the Virgin Islands well exceeded the $552 
average in neighboring Puerto Rico. 

Chart 1. Percent change in employment, United States, Virgin Islands, and St. Thomas, December 2008-09 and Chart 2. Percent growth in average weekly wages, United States, Virgin Islands, and St. Thomas, fourth quarter, 2008-09Employment

In December 2009, employment in St. Thomas accounted for 53 percent of the territory’s workforce. In the 
two other counties, workers on St. Croix numbered 18,300 (42 percent of the territory total) and on 
St. John, 2,200 (5 percent). In neighboring Puerto Rico, San Juan employment totaled 276,800, or 28 percent 
of the commonwealth’s workers.

Over the year, employment in St. Thomas decreased 2.7 percent. Employment also fell in the largest counties 
of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with the largest decline occurring in Wayne, Mich. 
(-7.1 percent). In addition to St. Thomas, the largest counties in 10 states and the District of Columbia 
experienced employment contractions of less than 3.0 percent. San Juan, Puerto Rico registered a 4.6-percent 
drop in employment from December 2008 to December 2009.

Wage levels

Among the three counties in the Virgin Islands, St. Croix recorded the highest average weekly wage, $826, 
in the fourth quarter of 2009.  St. Thomas followed with a weekly average of $696, while St. John had the 
lowest wage, $602.

Average weekly wages in the largest county in each of the states ranged from $1,878 in New York, N.Y., to 
$768 in Yellowstone, Mont. When the territories were also considered, the average wage in St. Thomas ranked 
second lowest among the largest counties. Only San Juan, Puerto Rico ($653) ranked lower. 

Over the year, average weekly wages in St. Thomas increased 3.7 percent. In 28 states and the District of 
Columbia, the largest county recorded wage growth exceeding the national average of 2.5 percent; no states 
recorded wage declines.

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 the QCEW Web site at 
www.bls.gov/cew/. An annual bulletin, Employment and Wages, features comprehensive information by detailed 
industry on establishments, employment, and wages for the nation and all states. The 2008 edition of this 
bulletin contains selected data produced by Business Employment Dynamics (BED) on job gains and losses, as 
well as selected data from the first quarter 2009 version of the national news release. Tables and 
additional content from the 2008 Employment and Wages Annual Bulletin are now available online at 
www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn08.htm. These tables present final 2008 annual averages. The tables are included 
on the CD which accompanies the hardcopy version of the Annual Bulletin. Employment and Wages Annual 
Averages, 2008 is available for sale as a chartbook from the United States Government Printing Office, 
Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA  15250, telephone 866-512-1800, outside 
Washington, D.C. Within Washington, D.C., the telephone number is 202-512-1800. The fax number is 
202-512-2104.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice 
phone: 202-691-5200; TDD message referral phone number: 800-877-8339.  

For personal assistance or further information on the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program, 
as well as other Bureau programs, contact the New York-New Jersey Information Office at (646) 264-3600 
from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET.

                                       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 9.1 million employer reports cover 128.3 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. 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.
Table 1. Covered(1) employment and wages in the United States, the Virgin Islands, and St. Thomas, fourth quarter 2009(2)
Area Employment Average weekly wage (3)
December 2009 (thousands) Percent change, December 2008-09 (4) Average weekly wage Percent change, fourth quarter 2008-09 (4)

United States (5)

128,334.9 -4.1 $942 2.5

Virgin Islands

43.9 -3.7 746 2.2

St. Thomas

23.3 -2.7 696 3.7

Footnotes:
(1) Includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs.
(2) Data are preliminary.
(3) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(4) Percent changes were computed from quarterly employment and pay data adjusted for noneconomic county reclassifications.
(5) Totals for the United States do not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.

Table 2. Covered(1) employment and wages, the United States, the Virgin Islands, and counties in the Virgin Islands, fourth quarter 2009(2)
Area Employment December 2009 (thousands) Average weekly wage(3)

United States (4)

128,334.9 $942

Virgin Islands

43.9 746

St. Croix

18.3 826

St. John

2.2 602

St. Thomas

23.2 696

Footnotes:
(1) Includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs.
(2) Data are preliminary.
(3) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(4) Totals for the United States do not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.

Table 3. Covered (1) employment and wages by state, fourth quarter 2009(2)
State Employment Average weekly wage (3)
December 2009 (thousands) Percent change, December 2008-09 Average weekly wage National ranking by level Percent change, fourth quarter 2008-09 National ranking by percent change

United States (4)

128,334.9 -4.1 $942 - 2.5 -

Alabama

1,819.9 -4.7 818 30 3.4 13

Alaska

302.4 -0.5 959 12 3.5 11

Arizona

2,406.2 -6.0 876 20 3.3 15

Arkansas

1,136.2 -2.8 725 47 2.5 29

California

14,476.4 -5.3 1,074 6 3.1 20

Colorado

2,183.6 -4.9 965 10 3.5 11

Connecticut

1,620.1 -4.0 1,192 2 2.3 34

Delaware

398.3 -5.0 960 11 2.1 39

District of Columbia

686.7 -0.1 1,614 1 2.7 25

Florida

7,208.9 -5.0 855 23 3.6 8

Georgia

3,773.5 -4.9 875 21 2.6 28

Hawaii

592.5 -3.7 843 25 2.7 25

Idaho

604.3 -4.7 708 48 2.2 37

Illinois

5,529.4 -4.6 1,008 8 2.3 34

Indiana

2,709.7 -4.3 781 38 2.2 37

Iowa

1,436.2 -3.3 771 40 2.1 39

Kansas

1,309.8 -4.4 792 37 2.9 21

Kentucky

1,726.2 -3.1 781 38 3.4 13

Louisiana

1,842.8 -3.5 833 27 0.4 49

Maine

579.0 -2.8 759 43 3.3 15

Maryland

2,462.9 -2.8 1,054 7 4.5 1

Massachusetts

3,142.5 -3.0 1,176 4 1.8 42

Michigan

3,767.7 -5.6 913 18 1.1 47

Minnesota

2,559.4 -3.8 928 17 2.3 34

Mississippi

1,076.5 -3.7 697 49 2.7 25

Missouri

2,598.7 -3.8 816 32 -3.2 51

Montana

419.4 -3.3 695 50 2.5 29

Nebraska

896.6 -2.9 756 44 3.6 8

Nevada

1,123.2 -6.9 875 21 1.4 45

New Hampshire

605.8 -3.2 958 13 2.4 33

New Jersey

3,806.6 -2.9 1,143 5 1.6 44

New Mexico

787.0 -4.2 794 36 3.3 15

New York

8,445.4 -2.6 1,190 3 1.7 43

North Carolina

3,802.2 -5.0 818 30 3.2 18

North Dakota

353.6 -0.2 752 45 3.7 6

Ohio

4,911.8 -4.9 840 26 2.9 21

Oklahoma

1,486.4 -4.8 763 41 0.9 48

Oregon

1,593.3 -4.8 829 29 2.5 29

Pennsylvania

5,474.5 -3.1 931 16 3.8 4

Rhode Island

448.1 -3.5 912 19 2.9 21

South Carolina

1,748.6 -4.9 763 41 4.4 2

South Dakota

386.0 -2.4 688 51 3.8 4

Tennessee

2,572.3 -4.5 849 24 2.9 21

Texas

10,146.9 -3.5 944 15 1.2 46

Utah

1,158.1 -4.5 796 35 3.2 18

Vermont

296.4 -2.7 804 34 3.7 6

Virginia

3,551.6 -2.8 994 9 4.3 3

Washington

2,776.6 -3.7 952 14 3.6 8

West Virginia

693.6 -2.9 752 45 2.5 29

Wisconsin

2,634.2 -4.4 810 33 2.1 39

Wyoming

266.9 -6.3 831 28 -2.2 50

Puerto Rico

977.6 -5.2 552 (5) 4.5 (5)

Virgin Islands

43.9 -3.7 746 (5) 2.2 (5)

Footnotes:
(1) Includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs.
(2) Data are preliminary.
(3) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(4) Totals for the United States do not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.
(5) Data not included in the national ranking.

Last Modified Date: August 5, 2010

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