Mountain-Plains Information Office

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13-1545-KAN

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

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County Employment and Wages in Colorado – Fourth Quarter 2012

Employment and wage growth recorded in all of Colorado’s large counties


Employment rose in all nine large counties in Colorado from December 2011 to December 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today. (Large counties are defined as those with employment of 75,000 or more as measured by 2011 annual average employment.) Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman noted that eight of these large counties reported employment growth exceeding the national average of 1.9 percent and one county matched the U.S. average. Douglas County led the state with a 5.1-percent gain and ranked 7th among the 328 large counties in the nation. Also ranking in the top 100 counties nationwide were Denver and Weld (4.2 percent each, 12th), Arapahoe (3.5 percent, 29th), Adams (3.3 percent, 39th), Larimer (2.7 percent, 69th), Jefferson (2.6 percent, 76th), and Boulder (2.5 percent, 80th).

Nationally, employment increased in 287 of the 328 largest U.S. counties from December 2011 to December 2012. Elkhart, Ind., posted the largest percentage increase, with a gain of 7.4 percent over the year. Sangamon, Ill., experienced the largest over-the-year decrease in employment among the largest counties in the U.S. with a loss of 2.5 percent.

Among the nine largest counties in Colorado, employment was highest in Denver County (443,100) in December 2012. Three other counties—Arapahoe, El Paso, and Jefferson—had employment levels exceeding 200,000. Together, the nine large counties accounted for 79.5 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 328 largest counties made up 71.3 percent of total U.S. employment.

Average weekly wages rose in all nine large counties in Colorado from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012. Douglas had the largest over-the-year increase in average weekly wages with a gain of 48.0 percent, well above the 4.7-percent increase for the nation. Jefferson followed with a 5.1-percent rise in average weekly wages. Average weekly wages in the state’s nine largest counties ranged from $1,591 in Douglas to $831 in Weld. Wages in five of the large counties exceeded the national average of $1,000. (See table 1.)

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 55 counties in Colorado with employment below 75,000. Of these smaller counties, only Broomfield ($1,312) had average weekly wages above the national average. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

All of Colorado’s nine large counties recorded wage growth from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012, with two posting gains above the national average of 4.7 percent. (See table 1.) As mentioned, Douglas had the largest wage increase (48.0 percent), placing 2nd in the national ranking followed by Jefferson (5.1 percent, 64th). Also placing in the top 100 of the rankings were Denver (4.6 percent, 81st) and Arapahoe (4.5 percent, 85th). Of the remaining large counties in Colorado, Larimer registered wage growth of 4.1 percent and placed 104th in the national ranking. The counties of Adams, Weld, Boulder, and El Paso recorded wage increases less than the national average and ranked in the bottom half nationwide.

Among the 328 largest counties, 316 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. San Mateo, Calif., had the largest wage increase among the largest U.S. counties (107.3 percent). Ten of the 328 largest counties experienced over-the-year decreases in average weekly wages. Lake, Ohio, registered the largest average weekly wage decline with a loss of 3.2 percent.

Large county average weekly wages

Five of the state’s large counties had average weekly wages that were above the national average of $1,000, placing them in the top 100 among the 328 largest counties in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2012. Douglas recorded the highest weekly wage at $1,591 and ranked 9th followed by the counties of Denver ($1,222, 31st), Arapahoe ($1,159, 46th), Boulder ($1,134, 50th), and Jefferson ($1,010, 91st). The average weekly wages in Colorado’s four other large counties ranged from $831 to $887.

Nationally, weekly wages were higher than average in 97 of the 328 largest U.S. counties. 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). Among the 231 large counties with an average weekly wage below the U.S. average in the fourth quarter of 2012, Horry, S.C. ($576) reported the lowest wage.

Average weekly wages in Colorado’s smaller counties

Of the 55 counties in Colorado with employment below 75,000, only Broomfield ($1,312) had average weekly wages above the national average of $1,000. San Juan County reported the lowest weekly wage in the state with an average of $436 in the fourth quarter of 2012. (See table 2.)

When all 64 counties in Colorado were considered, 6 had wages above $1,000. All six of these high-wage counties were concentrated in the vicinity of the major metropolitan areas of Denver and Boulder. (See chart 1.) Among the remaining counties, 12 had wages under $600, 22 reported wages from $600 to $699, 12 had wages from $700 to $799, 8 had wages from $800 to $899, and 4 had wages from $900 to $999.

Additional statistics and other information

Quarterly 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/.

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, which was published in October 2012, 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 national 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.


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 cover 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 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 9 largest counties in Colorado, 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 --

Colorado

2,311.4 2.7 -- 1,032 11 5.8 5

Adams, Colo.

162.3 3.3 39 886 182 3.1 166

Arapahoe, Colo.

292.3 3.5 29 1,159 46 4.5 85

Boulder, Colo.

163.5 2.5 80 1,134 50 2.0 246

Denver, Colo.

443.1 4.2 12 1,222 31 4.6 81

Douglas, Colo.

98.5 5.1 7 1,591 9 48.0 2

El Paso, Colo.

241.2 1.9 134 884 185 0.8 294

Jefferson, Colo.

215.8 2.6 76 1,010 91 5.1 64

Larimer, Colo.

134.0 2.7 69 887 181 4.1 104

Weld, Colo.

86.9 4.2 12 831 247 2.8 189

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) 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 Colorado, 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 Kiowa 468 $663

Colorado

2,311,372 1032 Kit Carson 2,974 656

Adams

162,298 886 Lake 2,132 708

Alamosa

7,527 664 La Plata 23,915 932

Arapahoe

292,321 1,159 Larimer 133,982 887

Archuleta

3,237 634 Las Animas 4,829 680

Baca

1,120 524 Lincoln 2,048 640

Bent

997 593 Logan 8,095 672

Boulder

163,468 1,134 Mesa 58,343 798

Broomfield

33,033 1,312 Mineral 501 560

Chaffee

6,455 670 Moffat 4,999 822

Cheyenne

717 814 Montezuma 8,647 671

Clear Creek

3,256 855 Montrose 13,528 723

Conejos

1,302 571 Morgan 12,043 706

Costilla

761 534 Otero 5,933 592

Crowley

1,076 713 Ouray 1,418 715

Custer

779 613 Park 2,110 643

Delta

8,178 649 Phillips 1,584 666

Denver

443,128 1,222 Pitkin 17,336 927

Dolores

425 581 Prowers 4,616 610

Douglas

98,478 1,591 Pueblo 56,543 740

Eagle

30,781 795 Rio Blanco 3,090 993

Elbert

3,053 678 Rio Grande 4,048 621

El Paso

241,227 884 Routt 14,383 876

Fremont

12,697 706 Saguache 1,536 636

Garfield

23,922 907 San Juan 272 436

Gilpin

5,290 729 San Miguel 4,860 689

Grand

6,979 589 Sedgwick 821 580

Gunnison

7,642 783 Summit 20,405 672

Hinsdale

250 537 Teller 6,738 660

Huerfano

1,707 556 Washington 1,197 723

Jackson

538 613 Weld 86,884 831

Jefferson

215,822 1,010 Yuma 3,919 687

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 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)

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.

Chart 1. Average weekly wages for counties in Colorado, fourth quarter 2012

Last Modified Date: July 31, 2013