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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

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County Employment and Wages in Washington – Third Quarter 2012


Employment rose in 8 of the 10 large counties in Washington from September 2011 to September 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are defined as those with employment of 75,000 or more as measured by 2011 annual average employment.) Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that Yakima County posted the largest employment increase, 3.4 percent, followed by Snohomish County (2.8 percent) and King County (2.4 percent).

Nationally, employment grew 1.6 percent during this 12-month period, as 276 of the 328 large U.S. counties gained jobs. Elkhart, Ind., had the largest percentage increase in employment in the nation, up 6.9 percent over the year. Benton, Wash., had the largest employment decrease in the country, down 5.2 percent.

Among the large counties in Washington, King reported the highest employment (1,171,900). Three other counties, Pierce, Snohomish, and Spokane, had employment levels above 200,000. Together, the 10 largest counties in Washington accounted for 84.2 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 328 largest counties made up 71.0 percent of total U.S. employment, which stood at 132.6 million in September 2012.

Average weekly wages increased over the year in three Washington counties. King County recorded the largest gain, 2.3 percent, and had the highest average weekly wage in the state ($1,354). Nationally, in the third quarter of 2012 the average weekly wage declined 1.1 percent over the year to $906. (See table 1.) This is one of only six over-the-year average weekly wage declines dating back to 1978, when the first comparable quarterly data are available.

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 29 counties in Washington with employment below 75,000 in 2011. All of these counties had average weekly wages below the national average and ranged from $482 to $803 during the third quarter of 2012. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

King County’s 2.3-percent wage gain ranked 4th nationally and Clark County’s 1.2-percent wage advance placed 17th among the 328 large counties nationwide. Average weekly wages did not change in the third quarter of 2012 in two of Washington’s large counties, while wages declined in five others. Among these five, Benton County’s weekly wages decreased 6.9 percent and tied for the second largest decline in the nation.

Average weekly wages declined over the year in 274 of the 328 largest U.S. counties. Yolo, Calif., had the largest wage decline (-7.0 percent). In contrast, 46 large counties experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. San Mateo, Calif., ranked first with a gain of 7.3 percent. Douglas, Colo., had the second largest increase (5.4 percent), followed by Pinellas, Fla. King County, Wash., tied with Clayton County, Ga., for the fourth largest percentage increase.

Large county average weekly wages

King County’s $1,354 weekly wage placed 10th among the 328 largest counties in the third quarter of 2012. Snohomish ($996) and Benton ($913) Counties placed 61st and 96th, respectively. Conversely, Yakima County’s $620 weekly wage ranked 325th.

Nationwide, 103 large counties registered weekly wages at or above the U.S. average of $906 in the third quarter of 2012. Santa Clara, Calif., held the top position among the highest-paid large counties with an average weekly wage of $1,800. New York, N.Y., was second at $1,626, followed by the counties of San Mateo, Calif. ($1,537), Washington, D.C. ($1,514), and Arlington, Va. ($1,488).

Among the largest U.S. counties, 225 reported weekly wages below the national average. Horry County, S.C., reported the lowest wage ($554), followed by the counties of Cameron, Texas ($580), Hidalgo, Texas ($584), Yakima, Wash. ($620), and Marion, Fla. ($621).

Average weekly wages in Washington’s smaller counties

All of the 29 counties in Washington with employment below 75,000 had average weekly wages lower than the national average of $906. (See table 2.)

When all 39 counties in Washington were considered, 3 counties had an average weekly wage of $900 or more, and 6 counties had an average weekly wage of $800 to $899. Seven counties had average weekly wages from $700 to $799. Twenty counties reported average weekly wages from $600 to $699, and 3 had wages below $600.

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 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 Online 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 covered 132.6 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 BLS 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 two large counties in Washington, third quarter 2012 (2)
Area Employment Average Weekly Wage (3)
September 2012 (thousands) Percent change, September 2011-12 (4) National ranking by percent change (5) Average weekly wage National ranking by level (5) Percent change, third quarter 2011-12 (4) National ranking by percent change (5)

United States (6)

132,624.7 1.6 -- $906 -- -1.1 --

Washington

2,944.6 1.5 -- 1,024 7 1.3 2

Benton, Wash.

79.1 -5.2 328 913 96 -6.9 325

Clark, Wash.

131.0 2.0 97 849 161 1.2 17

King, Wash.

1,171.9 2.4 54 1,354 10 2.3 4

Kitsap, Wash.

80.3 -0.5 297 885 121 -0.7 96

Pierce, Wash.

266.0 0.5 241 840 170 -0.4 76

Snohomish, Wash.

259.7 2.8 40 996 61 0.7 25

Spokane, Wash.

200.9 0.8 209 780 236 -0.3 68

Thurston, Wash.

96.9 1.0 186 847 162 -0.4 76

Whatcom, Wash.

80.7 0.3 256 758 253 0.0 47

Yakima, Wash.

113.7 3.4 25 620 325 0.0 47

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 2012 (2)

United States (4)

132,624,657 $906

Washington

2,944,588 1,024

Adams

7,933 641

Asotin

5,661 629

Benton

79,050 913

Chelan

43,124 626

Clallam

22,089 664

Clark

130,983 849

Columbia

1,282 692

Cowlitz

35,935 803

Douglas

11,292 552

Ferry

1,640 671

Franklin

33,699 640

Garfield

797 766

Grant

41,191 637

Grays Harbor

22,272 675

Island

14,891 675

Jefferson

7,885 646

King

1,171,854 1,354

Kitsap

80,320 885

Kittitas

14,364 635

Klickitat

7,389 800

Lewis

23,447 687

Lincoln

3,019 628

Mason

13,151 677

Okanogan

20,842 482

Pacific

6,018 616

Pend Oreille

2,999 762

Pierce

266,015 840

San Juan

5,613 598

Skagit

46,689 745

Skamania

2,312 628

Snohomish

259,728 996

Spokane

200,890 780

Stevens

9,622 662

Thurston

96,853 847

Wahkiakum

704 634

Walla Walla

27,448 700

Whatcom

80,675 758

Whitman

17,511 738

Yakima

113,720 620
Area Employment September 2011 Average Weekly Wage (3)

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 2012 (2)
State Employment Average weekly wage (3)
September
2012
(thousands)
Percent change,
September
2011-12
Average
weekly wage
National
ranking by
level
Percent change,
third quarter
2011-12
National
ranking by
percent change

United States (4)

132,624.7 1.6 $906 -- -1.1 --

Alabama

1,833.5 0.6 784 33 -2.4 45

Alaska

343.6 0.6 961 9 -0.2 7

Arizona

2,437.5 2.2 846 22 -2.0 43

Arkansas

1,156.7 0.3 708 47 -1.0 17

California

15,109.1 2.8 1,036 6 -1.2 21

Colorado

2,284.6 2.2 936 12 -1.3 25

Connecticut

1,638.9 0.8 1,087 4 -2.8 49

Delaware

407.3 0.1 925 14 -2.5 47

District of Columbia

714.9 0.6 1,514 1 -0.7 15

Florida

7,307.9 1.9 800 31 -1.4 27

Georgia

3,841.2 1.1 854 21 -1.5 31

Hawaii

605.5 1.7 827 26 -1.0 17

Idaho

630.4 1.1 687 49 -1.4 27

Illinois

5,688.6 1.1 945 11 -1.4 27

Indiana

2,849.9 1.8 772 35 -1.7 36

Iowa

1,486.7 1.1 756 41 -0.5 10

Kansas

1,325.5 1.0 761 39 -1.4 27

Kentucky

1,779.5 1.2 751 42 -1.7 36

Louisiana

1,864.3 0.3 805 30 -1.8 38

Maine

597.0 0.2 722 46 -1.6 34

Maryland

2,533.3 1.4 1,007 8 -1.6 34

Massachusetts

3,271.6 1.2 1,102 2 -1.2 21

Michigan

3,984.2 1.5 862 19 -1.5 31

Minnesota

2,675.4 1.1 915 15 0.0 4

Mississippi

1,089.4 0.6 672 51 -1.2 21

Missouri

2,628.8 0.7 793 32 -1.2 21

Montana

441.6 1.8 689 48 0.3 3

Nebraska

924.4 2.0 742 43 -0.5 10

Nevada

1,140.1 1.5 820 27 -3.0 50

New Hampshire

620.6 1.1 874 17 -3.1 51

New Jersey

3,811.2 1.1 1,053 5 -1.8 38

New Mexico

788.7 0.0 761 39 -2.3 44

New York

8,616.8 1.2 1,088 3 -1.1 19

North Carolina

3,934.1 1.6 806 29 -0.2 7

North Dakota

422.2 7.8 872 18 6.3 1

Ohio

5,073.0 1.1 828 24 -0.7 15

Oklahoma

1,545.6 1.3 779 34 -0.5 10

Oregon

1,667.3 1.2 834 23 0.0 4

Pennsylvania

5,598.4 0.6 899 16 -1.3 25

Rhode Island

460.5 0.8 855 20 -1.9 42

South Carolina

1,814.7 1.3 738 44 -1.1 19

South Dakota

405.3 1.6 683 50 -0.1 6

Tennessee

2,674.3 1.7 814 28 -0.6 14

Texas

10,773.4 2.7 930 13 -0.2 7

Utah

1,231.0 3.3 766 37 -1.8 38

Vermont

302.0 1.2 763 38 -1.8 38

Virginia

3,631.1 0.9 960 10 -1.5 31

Washington

2,944.6 1.5 1,024 7 1.3 2

West Virginia

715.4 0.5 724 45 -2.4 45

Wisconsin

2,718.7 0.7 770 36 -2.7 48

Wyoming

284.7 0.0 828 24 -0.5 10

Puerto Rico

933.4 2.1 506 (5) 0.0 (5)

Virgin Islands

38.6 -9.8 711 (5) -1.1 (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 2012

Last Modified Date: May 1, 2013