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14-1229-ATL
July 10, 2014

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County Employment and Wages in North Carolina - Fourth Quarter 2013

Eight of North Carolina’s nine largest counties reported employment gains from December 2012 to December 2013, 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 2012 annual average employment.) Regional Commissioner Janet S. Rankin noted that employment increases ranged from 3.7 percent in both Mecklenburg and Wake Counties to 1.1 percent in Guilford County. Employment declined 1.0 percent in Cumberland County over the 12-month period. (See table 1.)

Nationally, employment increased 1.8 percent over the year, as 292 of the 334 largest U.S. counties gained jobs. Weld, Colo., posted the largest increase, with a gain of 6.0 percent over the year. St. Clair, Ill., experienced the largest over-the-year decrease in employment among the largest counties in the U.S. with a loss of 3.1 percent.

Among the largest counties in North Carolina, employment was highest in Mecklenburg (606,800) in December 2013. Two other counties—Wake and Guilford—had employment levels exceeding 250,000. Together, North Carolina’s nine large counties accounted for 53.1 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 334 largest counties accounted for 71.7 percent of total U.S. employment, which stood at 136.1 million in December 2013.

Six of North Carolina’s nine largest counties experienced an increase in their average weekly wages from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013. Average weekly wage increases in two counties exceeded 2.0 percent—Durham (3.6 percent) and Forsyth (2.2 percent). Durham County had the highest average weekly wage in the state at $1,255, followed by the counties of Mecklenburg ($1,098) and Wake ($984). Nationally, the average weekly wage was unchanged over the year at $1,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013. (See table 1.)

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 91 counties with employment levels below 75,000 in North Carolina. Average weekly wages in these counties ranged from $1,018 to $538. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

As noted, average weekly wages advanced in six of North Carolina’s large counties from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013. At 3.6 percent, Durham’s wage increase ranked 14th among the nation’s 334 large counties. Two other counties placed in the top third of the rankings—Forsyth (2.2 percent, 41st) and New Hanover (1.1 percent, 95th). (See table 1.)

Nationwide, 185 large counties experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Santa Cruz, Calif., had the largest wage gain (6.5 percent). Ada, Idaho, had the second largest increase (6.4 percent), followed by Washington, Ore. (5.9 percent).

Among the 334 largest U.S. counties, 140 had over-the-year decreases in average weekly wages in the fourth quarter of 2013. Douglas, Colo., had the largest average weekly wage decline with a loss of 29.7 percent, followed by the counties of San Mateo, Calif. (-15.8 percent), Virginia Beach City, Va. (-10.0 percent), McHenry, Ill. (-8.8 percent) and Shawnee, Kan. (-5.1 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Durham and Mecklenburg Counties, with average weekly wages of $1,255 and $1,098, respectively, placed in the top third of the national ranking among the 334 largest U.S. counties in the fourth quarter of 2012. Wake ($984), Forsyth ($895), and Guilford ($858) fell in the middle third of the national ranking and the state’s remaining four large counties fell in the bottom third.

Nationally, San Mateo, Calif., recorded the highest average weekly wage at $2,724, followed by New York, N.Y. ($2,041), Santa Clara, Calif. ($1,972), San Francisco, Calif. ($1,753), and Suffolk, Mass. ($1,741).

There were 235 large counties with an average weekly wage below the U.S. average in the fourth quarter of 2013. Horry, S.C. ($587), reported the lowest wage, followed by the counties of Cameron, Texas ($598), Hidalgo, Texas ($620), Lake, Fla. ($668), and Webb, Texas ($670).

Average weekly wages in North Carolina’s smaller counties

Among the 91 counties in North Carolina with employment below 75,000, only Orange County ($1,018) had an average weekly wage above the national average of $1,000. This was followed by the counties of Iredell ($832) and Camden ($809). Tyrrell County reported the lowest weekly wage in the state, averaging $538 in the fourth quarter of 2013. (See table 2.)

When all 100 counties in North Carolina were considered, 21 reported average weekly wages under $600, 50 reported wages from $600 to $699, 20 had wages from $700 to $799, and 9 had wages above $800. (See chart 1.)

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 2012 edition of this publication, which was published in October 2013, 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 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: 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 136.1 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 employment and wages in the United States and the 9 largest counties in North Carolina, fourth quarter 2013
Area Employment Average Weekly Wage (1)
December 2013 (thousands) Percent change, December 2012-13 (2) National ranking by percent change (3) Average weekly wage National ranking by level (3) Percent change, fourth quarter 2012-13 (2) National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

136,129.4 1.8 -- $1,000 -- 0.0 --

North Carolina

4,045.5 1.9 -- 860 33 0.7 18

Buncombe, N.C.

118.8 1.6 156 758 310 0.7 128

Catawba, N.C.

81.7 1.6 156 731 318 0.8 120

Cumberland, N.C.

118.0 -1.0 322 766 306 -0.8 245

Durham, N.C.

186.9 1.3 175 1,255 26 3.6 14

Forsyth, N.C.

178.2 2.7 81 895 181 2.2 41

Guilford, N.C.

271.6 1.1 200 858 220 -0.1 195

Mecklenburg, N.C.

606.8 3.7 34 1,098 58 -0.5 226

New Hanover, N.C.

101.4 2.7 81 799 280 1.1 95

Wake, N.C.

485.0 3.7 34 984 113 0.5 141

(1) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(2) Percent changes were computed from quarterly employment and pay data adjusted for noneconomic county reclassifications.
(3) Ranking does not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.
(4) Totals for the United States do not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.
 

NOTE: Covered employment and wages includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs. Data are preliminary.
 

Table 2. Covered employment and wages in the United States and all counties in North Carolina, 4th quarter 2013
Area Employment December 2013 Average Weekly Wage (1)

United States (2)

136,129,407 $1,000

North Carolina

4,045,526 860

Alamance

58,484 716

Alexander

8,941 595

Alleghany

3,194 549

Anson

7,669 613

Ashe

7,127 629

Avery

6,514 556

Beaufort

15,715 690

Bertie

6,265 565

Bladen

12,071 680

Brunswick

28,148 710

Buncombe

118,774 758

Burke

29,952 660

Cabarrus

67,132 716

Caldwell

23,068 645

Camden

1,475 809

Carteret

21,725 605

Caswell

3,145 572

Catawba

81,699 731

Chatham

14,277 663

Cherokee

7,631 589

Chowan

4,604 685

Clay

1,908 552

Cleveland

33,949 674

Columbus

16,289 631

Craven

37,653 775

Cumberland

118,015 766

Currituck

5,747 672

Dare

16,253 614

Davidson

41,536 677

Davie

10,494 661

Duplin

19,781 627

Durham

186,934 1,255

Edgecombe

18,344 652

Forsyth

178,213 895

Franklin

11,577 711

Gaston

68,231 727

Gates

1,428 610

Graham

2,092 619

Granville

20,065 763

Greene

4,034 590

Guilford

271,595 858

Halifax

16,103 624

Harnett

22,505 631

Haywood

16,701 650

Henderson

35,260 694

Hertford

9,254 674

Hoke

10,636 727

Hyde

2,004 546

Iredell

66,498 832

Jackson

12,456 609

Johnston

43,410 709

Jones

1,667 632

Lee

24,772 723

Lenoir

28,216 661

Lincoln

21,076 675

McDowell

15,101 624

Macon

10,573 611

Madison

3,856 592

Martin

7,229 577

Mecklenburg

606,794 1,098

Mitchell

4,952 597

Montgomery

9,077 641

Moore

32,734 734

Nash

37,157 685

New Hanover

101,439 799

Northampton

5,494 599

Onslow

48,383 616

Orange

65,418 1,018

Pamlico

3,098 566

Pasquotank

15,544 677

Pender

9,937 636

Perquimans

1,969 590

Person

9,589 714

Pitt

73,893 803

Polk

5,117 568

Randolph

43,759 659

Richmond

13,427 633

Robeson

38,884 612

Rockingham

25,953 679

Rowan

44,418 773

Rutherford

18,267 628

Sampson

18,412 678

Scotland

11,807 646

Stanly

18,926 616

Stokes

6,798 578

Surry

27,574 614

Swain

8,479 660

Transylvania

8,272 626

Tyrrell

1,233 538

Union

56,720 766

Vance

14,537 630

Wake

485,018 984

Warren

3,434 595

Washington

3,654 766

Watauga

22,054 657

Wayne

42,936 660

Wilkes

20,948 632

Wilson

37,609 776

Yadkin

10,402 588

Yancey

3,791 570

(1) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(2) Totals for the United States do not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.

NOTE: Covered employment and wages includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs. Data are preliminary.
 

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

United States (2)

136,129.4 1.8 $1,000 -- 0.0 --

Alabama

1,866.5 1.0 851 34 -0.5 39

Alaska

315.1 0.0 1,022 14 1.6 7

Arizona

2,571.0 2.4 906 23 -0.5 39

Arkansas

1,154.3 -0.5 771 47 0.4 22

California

15,650.3 2.8 1,175 6 -0.9 43

Colorado

2,383.9 3.1 1,023 13 -0.9 43

Connecticut

1,661.2 0.3 1,238 4 -1.3 49

Delaware

419.6 1.8 1,035 9 -0.6 41

District of Columbia

727.3 0.6 1,638 1 -3.9 51

Florida

7,739.5 2.7 883 29 0.2 27

Georgia

3,986.9 2.5 924 21 -0.1 32

Hawaii

632.9 1.7 871 30 0.3 25

Idaho

634.5 2.6 754 50 3.0 2

Illinois

5,758.9 1.0 1,060 8 0.2 27

Indiana

2,896.9 1.6 814 40 -0.2 35

Iowa

1,510.9 1.4 834 38 1.6 7

Kansas

1,359.5 1.6 832 39 -0.4 38

Kentucky

1,818.0 1.2 804 42 0.2 27

Louisiana

1,911.6 0.9 889 26 0.5 20

Maine

586.8 0.8 786 46 1.7 5

Maryland

2,555.1 0.4 1,076 7 -0.9 43

Massachusetts

3,332.9 1.5 1,258 3 0.8 17

Michigan

4,072.4 2.0 952 20 -0.2 35

Minnesota

2,720.6 1.7 988 16 0.3 25

Mississippi

1,108.1 1.1 729 51 1.3 11

Missouri

2,670.4 1.1 861 32 -0.2 35

Montana

440.0 1.3 760 48 0.4 22

Nebraska

944.3 1.4 796 43 -0.1 32

Nevada

1,180.5 3.0 884 28 0.7 18

New Hampshire

629.3 1.4 1,017 15 -0.8 42

New Jersey

3,887.5 1.2 1,186 5 1.1 14

New Mexico

796.2 -0.1 814 40 1.4 10

New York

8,888.6 1.7 1,266 2 -1.1 48

North Carolina

4,045.5 1.9 860 33 0.7 18

North Dakota

435.0 3.3 980 17 3.8 1

Ohio

5,175.4 1.4 887 27 0.0 30

Oklahoma

1,581.3 0.6 851 34 -0.1 32

Oregon

1,699.6 2.5 894 25 2.6 3

Pennsylvania

5,650.3 0.4 976 18 0.4 22

Rhode Island

462.7 1.4 960 19 1.5 9

South Carolina

1,875.8 2.3 793 44 1.0 15

South Dakota

407.1 1.3 759 49 1.3 11

Tennessee

2,758.3 1.8 895 24 -0.9 43

Texas

11,246.3 2.6 1,027 12 0.0 30

Utah

1,284.7 3.1 836 37 -0.9 43

Vermont

308.5 0.6 848 36 2.3 4

Virginia

3,670.0 0.1 1,028 11 -1.3 49

Washington

2,976.0 2.5 1,034 10 1.7 5

West Virginia

710.1 -0.6 792 45 0.5 20

Wisconsin

2,751.8 1.0 865 31 1.2 13

Wyoming

279.2 0.6 917 22 1.0 15

Puerto Rico

958.3 -2.3 551 (3) 0.2 (3)

Virgin Islands

38.5 -3.6 754 (3) 2.4 (3)

(1) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(2) Totals for the United States do not include data for Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.
(3) Data not included in the national ranking.
 

NOTE: Covered employment and wages includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs. Data are preliminary.
 

 

 Chart 1. Average weekly wages by county in North Carolina, fourth quarter 2013

 

Last Modified Date: Thursday, July 10, 2014