County Employment and Wages Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT), Wednesday, June 8, 2016                                   USDL-16-1148

Technical Information:         (202) 691-6567     *     *
Media Contact:                 (202) 691-5902     *

Fourth Quarter 2015

From December 2014 to December 2015, employment increased in 308 of the 342 largest U.S. 
counties, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Williamson, Tenn., had the largest 
percentage increase with a gain of 6.8 percent over the year, above the national job growth rate of 1.9 
percent. Within Williamson, the largest employment increase occurred in professional and business 
services, which gained 3,185 jobs over the year (10.9 percent). Ector, Texas, had the largest over-the-
year percentage decrease in employment among the largest counties in the U.S., with a loss of 11.8 
percent. Within Ector, natural resources and mining had the largest decrease in employment, with a loss 
of 4,509 jobs (-34.1 percent). County employment and wage data are from the Quarterly Census of 
Employment and Wages (QCEW) program, which provides the only detailed quarterly and annual 
universe count of establishments, employment, and wages at the county, MSA, state, and national levels 
by detailed industry. These detailed data are published within six months following the end of each 
calendar quarter.

The U.S. average weekly wage increased 4.4 percent over the year, growing to $1,082 in the fourth 
quarter of 2015. Wyandotte, Kan., had the largest over-the-year percentage increase in average weekly 
wages with a gain of 10.4 percent. Within Wyandotte, an average weekly wage gain of $250, or 21.2 
percent, in manufacturing made the largest contribution to the county’s increase in average weekly 
wages. Midland, Texas, experienced the largest percentage decrease in average weekly wages with a 
loss of 11.5 percent over the year. Within Midland, natural resources and mining had the largest impact 
on the county’s average weekly wage decline with a decrease of $257 (-11.6 percent) over the year.

Large County Employment

In December 2015, national employment was 141.9 million (as measured by the QCEW program). Over 
the year, employment increased 1.9 percent, or 2.7 million. In December 2015, the 342 U.S. counties 
with 75,000 or more jobs accounted for 72.5 percent of total U.S. employment and 77.8 percent of total 
wages. These 342 counties had a net job growth of 2.2 million over the year, accounting for 81.4 percent 
of the overall U.S. employment increase. The five counties with the largest increases in employment 
levels had a combined over-the-year employment gain of 319,200 jobs, which was 12.0 percent of the 
overall job increase for the U.S. (See table A.) 

Employment declined in 26 of the largest counties from December 2014 to December 2015. Ector, 
Texas, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment (-11.8 percent), followed by 
Midland, Texas; Lafayette, La.; Gregg, Texas; and Weld, Colo. (See table 1.)

Table A.  Large counties ranked by December 2015 employment, December 2014-15 employment increase, and 
December 2014-15 percent increase in employment 

                                       Employment in large counties
      December 2015 employment    |      Increase in employment,     |  Percent increase in employment, 
            (thousands)           |          December 2014-15        |          December 2014-15
                                  |            (thousands)           |                  
                                  |                                  |                                  
 United States           141,924.5| United States             2,658.0| United States                 1.9
                                  |                                  |                                  
 Los Angeles, Calif.       4,341.0| Los Angeles, Calif.          99.3| Williamson, Tenn.             6.8
 Cook, Ill.                2,575.7| Dallas, Texas                62.4| Utah, Utah                    6.6
 New York, N.Y.            2,442.2| Maricopa, Ariz.              58.6| Loudoun, Va.                  6.3
 Harris, Texas             2,302.8| New York, N.Y.               50.7| Chesterfield, Va.             6.0
 Maricopa, Ariz.           1,883.2| Cook, Ill.                   48.2| Lee, Fla.                     5.9
 Dallas, Texas             1,651.6| Santa Clara, Calif.          38.5| Osceola, Fla.                 5.8
 Orange, Calif.            1,550.6| King, Wash.                  36.3| Bell, Texas                   5.4
 San Diego, Calif.         1,399.7| San Diego, Calif.            35.4| Boone, Ky.                    5.1
 King, Wash.               1,297.2| Orange, Calif.               34.7| Clay, Mo.                     5.1
 Miami-Dade, Fla.          1,115.9| Clark, Nev.                  33.0| Hall, Ga.                     5.0

Large County Average Weekly Wages

Average weekly wages for the nation increased to $1,082, a 4.4 percent increase, during the year ending 
in the fourth quarter of 2015. Among the 342 largest counties, 325 had over-the-year increases in 
average weekly wages. Wyandotte, Kan., had the largest percentage wage increase among the largest 
U.S. counties (10.4 percent). 

Of the 342 largest counties, 10 experienced over-the-year decreases in average weekly wages. Midland, 
Texas, had the largest percentage decrease in average weekly wages (-11.5 percent), followed by Ector, 
Texas; Lafayette, La.; Gregg, Texas; and San Mateo, Calif. (See table 1.) 

Table B.  Large counties ranked by fourth quarter 2015 average weekly wages, fourth quarter 2014-15
increase in average weekly wages, and fourth quarter 2014-15 percent increase in average weekly wages 

                                  Average weekly wage in large counties
        Average weekly wage,      |    Increase in average weekly    |    Percent increase in average 
        fourth quarter 2015       |    wage, fourth quarter 2014-15  |        weekly wage, fourth
                                  |                                  |          quarter 2014-15
                                  |                                  |                                  
 United States              $1,082| United States                 $46| United States                 4.4
                                  |                                  |                                  
 Santa Clara, Calif.        $2,335| Santa Clara, Calif.          $198| Wyandotte, Kan.              10.4
 New York, N.Y.              2,235| Lake, Ill.                    129| Sonoma, Calif.               10.0
 San Mateo, Calif.           2,095| San Francisco, Calif.         118| Lake, Ill.                    9.8
 San Francisco, Calif.       1,961| Wyandotte, Kan.                98| Passaic, N.J.                 9.4
 Suffolk, Mass.              1,943| Sonoma, Calif.                 95| Santa Clara, Calif.           9.3
 Washington, D.C.            1,756| Passaic, N.J.                  95| Anoka, Minn.                  9.3
 Fairfield, Conn.            1,735| Suffolk, Mass.                 92| Clay, Mo.                     9.2
 Arlington, Va.              1,686| Wayne, Mich.                   91| Collier, Fla.                 9.1
 Fairfax, Va.                1,618| Anoka, Minn.                   88| Catawba, N.C.                 8.9
 Morris, N.J.                1,601| Alameda, Calif.                86| Bell, Texas                   8.9

Ten Largest U.S. Counties

Among the 10 largest counties, 9 had over-the-year percentage increases in employment in December 
2015. Dallas, Texas, had the largest gain (3.9 percent). Within Dallas, trade, transportation, and utilities 
had the largest over-the-year employment level increase, with a gain of 20,999 jobs, or 6.3 percent. 
Harris, Texas, had the only percentage decrease in employment among the 10 largest counties (-0.5 
percent). (See table 2.)

Average weekly wages increased over the year in all of the 10 largest U.S. counties. Los Angeles, 
Calif., experienced the largest percentage gain in average weekly wages (5.5 percent). Within Los 
Angeles, information tied with professional and business services for the largest impact on the county’s 
average weekly wage growth. Within information, average weekly wages increased by $259, or 11.3 
percent, over the year. Within professional and business services, average weekly wages increased by 
$106, or 6.9 percent, over the year. Harris, Texas, had the smallest percentage gain in average weekly 
wages among the 10 largest counties (0.4 percent).

For More Information

The tables included in this release contain data for the nation and for the 342 U.S. counties with annual 
average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2014. December 2015 employment and 2015 fourth 
quarter average weekly wages for all states are provided in table 3 of this release.

The data are derived from reports submitted by every employer subject to unemployment insurance (UI) 
laws. The 9.7 million employer reports cover 141.9 million full- and part-time workers. Data for the 
fourth quarter of 2015 will be available electronically later at For additional 
information about the quarterly employment and wages data, please read the Technical Note. Additional 
information about the QCEW data may be obtained by calling (202) 691-6567.

Several BLS regional offices are issuing QCEW news releases targeted to local data users. For links to 
these releases, see

The County Employment and Wages release for first quarter 2016 is scheduled to be released on 
Wednesday, September 7, 2016.

The PDF version of the news release

Supplemental Files Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: June 28, 2016