Western Information Office

News Release Information

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

14-711-SAN

Contacts

Technical information:
Media contact:
  • (415) 625-2270, select option 1

County Employment and Wages in Washington – Third Quarter 2013


Employment rose in 9 of the 10 large counties in Washington from September 2012 to September 2013, 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 2012 annual average employment.) Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that the largest employment increase was 3.7 percent in King County, followed by 3.5 percent in Clark County. (See table 1.)

Employment nationwide advanced 1.7 percent from September 2012 to September 2013 as 286 of the 334 largest U.S. counties registered increases. Fort Bend, Texas, posted the largest increase with a gain of 6.0 percent over the year. Peoria, Ill., experienced the largest over-the-year decrease in employment with a loss of 3.7 percent.

Among the largest counties in Washington, King reported the highest employment (1,212,300) in September 2013. Three other counties (Pierce, Snohomish, and Spokane) had employment levels exceeding 200,000. Together, Washington’s 10 large counties accounted for 84.5 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 334 largest counties made up 71.4 percent of total U.S. employment.

Average weekly wages increased in 8 of the 10 large counties in Washington from the third quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of 2013. Whatcom County experienced the largest growth in wages (6.9 percent), followed by Yakima (3.2 percent), and Clark and Spokane (2.2 percent each). Nationally, average weekly wages increased 1.9 percent from the third quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of 2013. King County had the highest average weekly wage among the largest counties in the state at $1,376, followed by Snohomish ($1,013). Average weekly wages in these two counties exceeded the national average of $922. Yakima County recorded the lowest average weekly wage at $638. (See table 1.)

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 29 counties in Washington with employment below 75,000. All of these smaller counties had average weekly wages below the national average. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

Eight large counties in Washington recorded wage gains from the third quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of 2013, with four counties posting increases greater than the U.S. average of 1.9 percent. (See table 1.) As mentioned, Whatcom County’s 6.9-percent wage increase was the highest in the state and placed 4th in the national ranking. Three additional Washington counties registered wage growth ranking in the top 100 nationally: Yakima (3.2 percent, 42nd), and Clark and Spokane (2.2 percent each, tied 98th). In contrast, average weekly wages fell in Thurston and Kitsap Counties, decreasing 2.2 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

Among the 334 largest U.S. counties, 291 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. San Mateo, Calif., had the largest wage gain at 9.9 percent. Dane, Wis., was second with wage growth of 9.3 percent, followed by Collier, Fla. (8.0 percent). Wage decreases were recorded in 40 large counties nationwide; Pinellas, Fla., experienced the largest over-the-year wage loss at 4.3 percent.

Large county average weekly wages

King County’s $1,376 weekly wage placed 10th among the 334 largest U.S. counties in the third quarter of 2013. Snohomish ($1,013) and Benton ($916) Counties placed 59th and 109th, respectively. Five large counties in the state reported average weekly wages between $880 and $800. Yakima County’s $638 weekly wage was the lowest among the state’s large counties and ranked 329th nationwide.

Nationally, weekly wages were higher than average in 101 of the 334 largest U.S. counties. Santa Clara, Calif., held the top position among the highest-paid large counties with an average weekly wage of $1,868. San Mateo, Calif., was second at $1,698, followed by New York, N.Y. ($1,667), Washington D.C. ($1,560), and San Francisco, Calif. ($1,549).

Among the 232 large counties with an average weekly wage below the U.S. average in the third quarter of 2013, 3 had wages below $600. Horry, S.C. ($564) reported the lowest wage, followed by Cameron, Texas ($587) and Hidalgo, Texas ($595).

Average weekly wages in Washington’s smaller counties

Of the 29 counties in Washington with employment below 75,000, Cowlitz recorded the highest average weekly wage at $895. Okanogan County reported the lowest weekly wage in the state with an average of $518 in the third quarter of 2013. (See table 2.)

When all 39 counties in Washington were considered, all but 2 had wages below the national average of $922. One reported average weekly wages under $600, 20 reported wages from $600 to $699, 9 had wages from $700 to $799, 6 had wages from $800 to $899, and 3 had wages above $900. (See chart 1.) Of the nine counties with wages of $800 or higher, six were located on coastal waters on or adjacent to Puget Sound.

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 http://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 2012 edition of this publication, which was published in September 2013, contains selected data produced by Business Employment Dynamics (BED) on job gains and losses, as well as selected data from the first quarter 2013 version of the national news release. Tables and additional content from Employment and Wages Annual Averages 2012 are now available online at www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn12.htm. The 2013 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2014.

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 9.3 million employer reports cover 135.0 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 10 largest counties in Washington, third quarter 2013 (2)
Area Employment Average Weekly Wage (3)
September 2013 (thousands) Percent change, September 2012-13 (4) National ranking by percent change (5) Average weekly wage National ranking by level (5) Percent change, third quarter 2012-13 (4) National ranking by percent change (5)

United States (6)

134,957.5 1.7 -- $922 -- 1.9 --

Washington

3,017.9 2.4 -- 1,044 7 2.1 21

Benton, Wash.

79.9 1.1 203 916 109 0.3 268

Clark, Wash.

136.1 3.5 34 866 159 2.2 98

King, Wash.

1,212.3 3.7 25 1,376 10 1.6 172

Kitsap, Wash.

80.1 -0.2 295 879 145 -0.6 312

Pierce, Wash.

274.0 2.1 114 842 178 0.5 255

Snohomish, Wash.

264.6 1.6 156 1,013 59 1.4 192

Spokane, Wash.

204.2 1.3 187 796 231 2.2 98

Thurston, Wash.

100.1 2.3 97 829 195 -2.2 326

Whatcom, Wash.

82.7 2.0 120 807 218 6.9 4

Yakima, Wash.

114.8 1.0 214 638 329 3.2 42

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 Washington, third quarter 2013 (2)
Area Employment September 2013 Average Weekly Wage (3)

United States (4)

134,957,493 $922

Washington

3,017,877 1,044

Adams

8,103 642

Asotin

5,726 621

Benton

79,891 916

Chelan

43,143 645

Clallam

22,300 673

Clark

136,117 866

Columbia

1,299 676

Cowlitz

35,987 895

Douglas

11,706 606

Ferry

1,684 723

Franklin

35,046 658

Garfield

756 760

Grant

40,974 649

Grays Harbor

22,145 682

Island

14,952 678

Jefferson

7,965 674

King

1,212,331 1,376

Kitsap

80,053 879

Kittitas

14,509 651

Klickitat

7,248 794

Lewis

23,875 702

Lincoln

2,974 650

Mason

13,479 680

Okanogan

20,497 518

Pacific

6,232 622

Pend Oreille

2,868 779

Pierce

274,014 842

San Juan

5,803 611

Skagit

48,522 761

Skamania

2,226 647

Snohomish

264,551 1,013

Spokane

204,239 796

Stevens

9,617 681

Thurston

100,146 829

Wahkiakum

739 646

Walla Walla

27,436 700

Whatcom

82,675 807

Whitman

17,512 778

Yakima

114,791 638

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.

SOURCE: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages


Table 3. Covered (1) employment and wages by state, third quarter 2013 (2)
State Employment Average weekly wage (3)
September
2013
(thousands)
Percent change,
September
2012-13
Average
weekly
wage
National
ranking by
level
Percent change,
third quarter
2012-13
National
ranking by
percent change

United States (4)

134,957.5 1.7 $922 -- 1.9 --

Alabama

1,847.6 0.8 794 34 1.3 43

Alaska

345.0 0.4 990 9 3.0 7

Arizona

2,490.9 2.2 859 22 1.5 36

Arkansas

1,156.5 0.1 723 47 2.1 21

California

15,526.4 2.7 1,057 6 2.1 21

Colorado

2,355.7 3.1 952 12 1.7 31

Connecticut

1,650.3 0.7 1,109 3 1.9 28

Delaware

416.8 2.1 941 14 2.1 21

District of Columbia

726.2 1.5 1,560 1 3.0 7

Florida

7,501.8 2.6 808 31 1.1 46

Georgia

3,928.2 2.3 867 21 1.5 36

Hawaii

617.7 1.7 839 25 1.6 33

Idaho

644.7 2.3 703 50 2.3 19

Illinois

5,731.7 0.7 959 11 1.5 36

Indiana

2,883.6 1.2 784 38 1.6 33

Iowa

1,512.0 1.5 772 40 2.1 21

Kansas

1,347.6 1.8 776 39 2.0 26

Kentucky

1,794.5 1.0 760 43 1.1 46

Louisiana

1,893.4 1.4 827 28 2.9 10

Maine

601.5 0.7 735 46 1.8 30

Maryland

2,546.4 0.6 1,011 8 0.4 51

Massachusetts

3,318.3 1.2 1,131 2 2.6 11

Michigan

4,069.7 2.1 875 20 1.5 36

Minnesota

2,724.2 1.7 938 15 2.6 11

Mississippi

1,099.1 0.8 688 51 2.5 15

Missouri

2,661.0 1.3 805 32 1.4 40

Montana

446.7 1.2 705 49 2.3 19

Nebraska

937.5 1.3 766 41 3.4 3

Nevada

1,169.4 2.5 836 27 2.0 26

New Hampshire

624.5 0.6 895 18 2.4 17

New Jersey

3,851.9 1.2 1,068 5 1.3 43

New Mexico

793.7 0.5 766 41 0.7 49

New York

8,724.8 1.3 1,108 4 1.7 31

North Carolina

4,006.4 1.7 817 30 1.4 40

North Dakota

436.7 3.4 921 16 5.5 1

Ohio

5,147.5 1.4 837 26 1.2 45

Oklahoma

1,572.6 1.4 797 33 2.4 17

Oregon

1,709.8 2.4 856 23 2.6 11

Pennsylvania

5,622.4 0.3 913 17 1.6 33

Rhode Island

465.2 1.3 878 19 2.6 11

South Carolina

1,859.3 2.3 751 44 1.9 28

South Dakota

408.9 0.9 706 48 3.4 3

Tennessee

2,712.8 1.5 819 29 0.6 50

Texas

11,091.9 2.8 952 12 2.5 15

Utah

1,265.5 2.9 791 36 3.1 6

Vermont

302.5 0.0 788 37 3.4 3

Virginia

3,650.1 0.6 971 10 1.1 46

Washington

3,017.9 2.4 1,044 7 2.1 21

West Virginia

710.3 -0.7 751 44 3.7 2

Wisconsin

2,752.7 1.1 793 35 3.0 7

Wyoming

286.1 0.2 840 24 1.4 40

Puerto Rico

910.9 -2.5 501 (5) -0.6 (5)

Virgin Islands

37.9 -1.9 706 (5) -0.6 (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.

Chart 1. Average weekly wages by county in Washington, Third Quarter 2013