Southwest Information Office

News Release Information

13-1136-DAL

Monday, July 8, 2013

Contacts

Further information:

County Employment and Wages in Arkansas – Fourth Quarter 2012


Employment increased in the three largest Arkansas counties from December 2011 to December 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today. (Large counties are those with 2011 annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more.) Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman noted that Washington County had the largest increase, up 3.7 percent, followed by Benton (1.9 percent) and Pulaski (1.0 percent). (See table 1.)

Nationally, employment advanced 1.9 percent from December 2011 to December 2012 as 287 of the 328 largest U.S. counties registered increases. Elkhart County, Ind., recorded the highest percentage increase in the country, up 7.4 percent over the year. Sangamon, Ill., registered the largest percentage employment decline, down 2.5 percent.

Among the three largest counties in Arkansas, employment was highest in Pulaski County (246,300) in December 2012. The two other large Arkansas counties, Benton and Washington, had employment levels below 100,000. Together, the three largest Arkansas counties accounted for 37.9 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 328 largest counties made up 71.3 percent of total U.S. employment.

From the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012, Pulaski County recorded the fastest rate of increase in average weekly wages among Arkansas' largest counties, registering a gain of 6.9 percent. (See table 1.) Pulaski also recorded the highest average weekly wage among the three large Arkansas counties at $927 per week. Nationally, the average weekly wage increased 4.7 percent over the year to $1,000 in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 72 counties in Arkansas with employment levels below 75,000. Wage levels in all of these smaller counties were below the national average. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

Pulaski County’s 6.9-percent rise in average weekly wages from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012 was notably above the national average of 4.7 percent, ranking 24th among the nation’s largest counties.(See table 1.) Wages rose at a slower pace in Benton, where a 3.9-percent over-the-year increase was 119th in the national rankings, and Washington’s 0.8-percent wage gain ranked 294th.

Nationally, 316 of the 328 largest counties registered over-the-year wage increases. San Mateo County, Calif., had the largest wage gain, up 107.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011. Douglas County, Colo., was second with a wage increase of 48.0 percent, followed by the counties of Virginia Beach City, Va. (13.3 percent), and Rockingham, N.H. (12.0 percent).

Among the large U.S. counties, 10 experienced over-the-year wage decreases. Lake, Ohio, had the largest wage decrease with a loss of 3.2 percent. Passaic, N.J., had the second largest decrease in average weekly wages, down 2.1 percent from the fourth quarter 2011, followed by Genesee, Mich. (-1.7 percent), Atlantic, N.J. (-1.4 percent), and Benton, Wash. (-1.0 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Weekly wages in the state’s three large counties were below the national average of $1,000 per week. However, average weekly wages in two of the Arkansas counties were high enough to place near the middle of the national ranking. In the fourth quarter of 2012, Pulaski County's average wage ($927) ranked 150th and Benton County ($900) ranked 169th. In contrast, at $837 per week, wages in Washington County placed in the bottom third among large U.S. counties, ranking 240th overall.

Nationally, 97 large counties registered average weekly wages above the U.S. average of $1,000 in the fourth quarter of 2012. San Mateo, Calif., held the top position among the highest-paid large counties with an average weekly wage of $3,240. New York, N.Y., was second at $2,107, followed by Santa Clara, Calif. ($1,906).

Seventy percent of the largest U.S. counties (231) reported weekly wages below the national average. Horry County, S.C., reported the lowest wage ($576), followed by the Texas counties of Cameron ($609) and Hidalgo ($612). Wages in these lowest-ranked counties were less than twenty percent of the average weekly wage reported for the highest-ranked county, San Mateo.

Average weekly wages in Arkansas’ smaller counties

All 72 of Arkansas’ smaller counties – those with employment below 75,000 – reported weekly wages below the national average of $1,000 in the fourth quarter of 2012. Among these counties, Calhoun ($915) and Union ($833) posted the highest wages, while Newton reported the lowest average weekly wage in the state ($460). (See table 2.)

When all 75 counties in Arkansas were considered, 2 reported average weekly wages under $500, 26 reported wages from $500 to $599, 32 had wages from $600 to $699, 9 had wages from $700 to $799, and 6 averaged $800 or more per week. (See chart 1.) The top-paying counties were concentrated around the metropolitan areas of Fayetteville and Little Rock, as well as along the southern border of the state.

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 2011 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 2012 version of the news release. Tables and additional content from Employment and Wages Annual Averages 2011 are now available online at www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn11.htm. The 2012 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available later in 2013.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the United States on October 29, 2012, during the QCEW fourth quarter reference period. This event did not warrant changes to QCEW methodology.

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 9.2 million employer reports covered 133.7 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 (see Technical Note below) 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 and the 3 largest counties in Arkansas, fourth quarter 2012 (2)
Area Employment Average Weekly Wage (3)
December
2012
(thousands)
Percent change,
December
2011-12 (4)
National
ranking by
percent change (5)
Average
weekly
wage
National
ranking by
level (5)
Percent change,
fourth quarter
2011-12 (4)
National
ranking by
percent change (5)

United States (6)

133,726.8 1.9 -- $1,000 -- 4.7 --

Arkansas

1,160.3 0.2 -- 767 47 4.2 19

Benton, Ark.

99.2 1.9 134 900 169 3.9 119

Pulaski, Ark.

246.3 1.0 213 927 150 6.9 24

Washington, Ark.

94.6 3.7 23 837 240 0.8 294

(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) Ranking does not include the county of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
(6) Totals for the United States do not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.



Table 2. Covered (1) employment and wages in the United States and all counties in Arkansas, fourth quarter 2012 (2)
Area Employment December 2012 Average Weekly Wage (3) Area Employment December 2012 Average Weekly Wage (3)

United States (4)

133,726,808 $1,000

Lawrence

4,100 $563

Arkansas

1,160,312 767

Lee

2,058 633

Arkansas

9,696 737

Lincoln

3,018 619

Ashley

7,386 774

Little River

3,734 811

Baxter

14,312 661

Logan

5,616 612

Benton

99,150 900

Lonoke

13,319 627

Boone

13,969 648

Madison

3,251 601

Bradley

3,437 592

Marion

3,634 550

Calhoun

2,743 915

Miller

13,703 703

Carroll

9,845 532

Mississippi

19,569 765

Chicot

3,431 587

Monroe

2,278 570

Clark

9,372 601

Montgomery

1,476 514

Clay

3,724 568

Nevada

2,435 601

Cleburne

7,049 617

Newton

1,118 460

Cleveland

1,055 550

Ouachita

7,221 595

Columbia

8,560 734

Perry

1,447 592

Conway

6,718 698

Phillips

6,237 577

Craighead

44,955 717

Pike

2,265 554

Crawford

19,233 646

Poinsett

5,197 655

Crittenden

16,250 638

Polk

6,129 545

Cross

5,112 612

Pope

26,311 675

Dallas

2,875 556

Prairie

1,454 609

Desha

4,715 632

Pulaski

246,276 927

Drew

6,424 579

Randolph

4,703 511

Faulkner

41,446 745

Saline

21,809 639

Franklin

4,435 686

Scott

3,108 542

Fulton

2,007 511

Searcy

1,573 481

Garland

35,531 654

Sebastian

65,629 770

Grant

3,683 642

Sevier

4,980 522

Greene

15,223 637

Sharp

3,690 511

Hempstead

8,056 664

St. Francis

7,965 639

Hot Spring

8,701 623

Stone

2,511 504

Howard

7,098 556

Union

18,003 833

Independence

14,607 670

Van Buren

3,837 626

Izard

3,134 562

Washington

94,625 837

Jackson

5,268 640

White

25,374 682

Jefferson

30,762 746

Woodruff

1,847 631

Johnson

8,870 555

Yell

6,660 542

Lafayette

1,316 601

(1) Includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees 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 2012 (2)
State Employment Average weekly wage (3)
December
2012
(thousands)
Percent change,
December
2011-12
Average
weekly
wage
National
ranking by
level
Percent change,
fourth quarter
2011-12
National
ranking by
percent change

United States (4)

133,726.8 1.9 $1,000 -- 4.7 --

Alabama

1,847.3 1.1 854 33 2.6 41

Alaska

314.8 1.1 1,007 15 2.7 38

Arizona

2,509.2 2.4 912 22 3.3 33

Arkansas

1,160.3 0.2 767 47 4.2 19

California

15,216.3 3.3 1,186 5 7.8 2

Colorado

2,311.4 2.7 1,032 11 5.8 5

Connecticut

1,657.6 1.0 1,253 3 5.3 8

Delaware

411.0 1.2 1,044 9 6.1 4

District of Columbia

721.5 1.7 1,703 1 2.2 47

Florida

7,535.5 2.3 880 27 3.9 23

Georgia

3,889.9 1.7 927 21 4.7 13

Hawaii

620.7 2.1 868 30 2.7 38

Idaho

618.4 2.0 732 50 2.1 48

Illinois

5,697.9 1.1 1,058 8 4.4 17

Indiana

2,850.5 1.8 816 40 3.4 32

Iowa

1,486.6 1.3 821 39 3.7 26

Kansas

1,339.2 1.5 835 37 4.4 17

Kentucky

1,796.0 1.4 801 42 1.8 49

Louisiana

1,891.9 1.0 884 26 4.1 20

Maine

582.2 0.2 773 46 2.4 45

Maryland

2,544.1 1.2 1,086 7 2.5 42

Massachusetts

3,279.3 1.3 1,248 4 4.8 11

Michigan

3,988.9 1.9 954 18 2.3 46

Minnesota

2,677.2 1.6 985 16 5.1 10

Mississippi

1,096.5 1.1 720 51 3.2 34

Missouri

2,641.9 0.9 863 31 4.6 14

Montana

434.6 1.9 757 48 4.1 20

Nebraska

931.3 2.2 797 43 4.6 14

Nevada

1,145.8 1.9 877 28 2.9 35

New Hampshire

620.8 0.8 1,023 13 5.5 6

New Jersey

3,846.4 1.1 1,172 6 2.9 35

New Mexico

796.8 1.5 802 41 0.4 51

New York

8,741.9 1.4 1,280 2 6.9 3

North Carolina

3,963.9 1.9 854 33 3.6 29

North Dakota

421.0 6.1 944 20 8.4 1

Ohio

5,098.0 1.3 887 25 3.6 29

Oklahoma

1,565.3 1.9 847 35 3.9 23

Oregon

1,654.1 1.4 871 29 2.5 42

Pennsylvania

5,629.8 0.5 972 17 3.8 25

Rhode Island

456.4 1.0 945 19 2.7 38

South Carolina

1,832.2 2.0 784 45 2.8 37

South Dakota

401.7 1.2 749 49 3.5 31

Tennessee

2,710.4 2.1 903 24 5.2 9

Texas

10,956.4 3.2 1,027 12 5.5 6

Utah

1,246.6 3.7 844 36 4.5 16

Vermont

306.1 0.7 829 38 2.5 42

Virginia

3,663.7 1.1 1,042 10 3.7 26

Washington

2,902.0 2.1 1,017 14 4.0 22

West Virginia

714.3 0.0 788 44 1.5 50

Wisconsin

2,723.6 1.2 855 32 4.8 11

Wyoming

277.6 0.2 908 23 3.7 26

Puerto Rico

978.6 1.6 550 (5) -0.4 (5)

Virgin Islands

39.8 -7.9 738 (5) -3.9 (5)

(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.



Average weekly wages by county in Arkansas fourth quarter 2012

Last Modified Date: July 8, 2013