County Employment and Wages Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT), Wednesday, June 7, 2017	USDL-17-0769

Technical Information:	(202) 691-6567  *  QCEWInfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cew
Media Contact:		(202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov

COUNTY EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES
Fourth Quarter 2016

From December 2015 to December 2016, employment increased in 280 of the 344 largest U.S. 
counties, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Williamson, Tenn., had the largest 
percentage increase with a gain of 5.1 percent over the year, above the national job growth rate of 1.2 
percent. Within Williamson, the largest employment increase occurred in professional and business 
services, which gained 1,995 jobs over the year (6.0 percent). Lafayette, La., had the largest over-the-
year percentage decrease in employment among the largest counties in the U.S., with a loss of 5.1 
percent. Within Lafayette, natural resources and mining had the largest decrease in employment, with a 
loss of 2,397 jobs (-19.8 percent).

The U.S. average weekly wage decreased 1.5 percent over the year, declining to $1,067 in the fourth 
quarter of 2016. This is one of only eight declines in the history of the series, which dates back to 1978. 
The 1.5 percent decline in average weekly wages was the largest decline since fourth quarter 2011, when 
average weekly wages decreased by 1.7 percent. The most recent decline occurred in first quarter 2016, 
when the U.S. average weekly wage decreased 0.6 percent over the year. McLean, Ill., had the largest 
over-the-year percentage decrease in average weekly wages with a loss of 9.2 percent. Within McLean, 
an average weekly wage loss of $178 (-10.9 percent) in financial activities made the largest contribution 
to the county’s decrease in average weekly wages. Clayton, Ga., experienced the largest percentage 
increase in average weekly wages with a gain of 11.3 percent over the year. Within Clayton, trade, 
transportation, and utilities had the largest impact on the county’s average weekly wage growth with an 
increase of $265 (25.3 percent) over the year.

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, metropolitan statistical area, state, and national levels by detailed 
industry. These data are published within 6 months following the end of each quarter.

Large County Employment

In December 2016, national employment was 143.7 million (as measured by the QCEW program). Over 
the year, employment increased 1.2 percent, or 1.8 million. In December 2016, the 344 U.S. counties 
with 75,000 or more jobs accounted for 72.8 percent of total U.S. employment and 78.1 percent of total 
wages. These 344 counties had a net job growth of 1.4 million over the year, accounting for 80.7 percent 
of the overall U.S. employment increase. The 5 counties with the largest increases in employment levels 
had a combined over-the-year employment gain of 215,600 jobs, which was 12.2 percent of the overall 
job increase for the U.S. (See table A.)

Employment declined in 58 of the largest counties from December 2015 to December 2016. Lafayette, 
La., had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment (-5.1 percent), followed by Gregg, 
Texas; Midland, Texas; Erie, Pa.; and Kanawha, W.Va. (See table 1.)

Table A.  Large counties ranked by December 2016 employment, December 2015-16 employment increase, and 
December 2015-16 percent increase in employment 

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                                       Employment in large counties
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      December 2016 employment    |      Increase in employment,     |  Percent increase in employment, 
            (thousands)           |          December 2015-16        |          December 2015-16
                                  |            (thousands)           |                  
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                                  |                                  |                                  
 United States           143,749.9| United States             1,773.6| United States                 1.2
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                                  |                                  |                                  
 Los Angeles, Calif.       4,415.7| Los Angeles, Calif.          50.2| Williamson, Tenn.             5.1
 Cook, Ill.                2,590.2| Dallas, Texas                45.7| York, S.C.                    4.6
 New York, N.Y.            2,471.6| Maricopa, Ariz.              45.2| Williamson, Texas             4.5
 Harris, Texas             2,272.0| King, Wash.                  42.7| Utah, Utah                    4.5
 Maricopa, Ariz.           1,926.9| Orange, Calif.               31.8| Northampton, Pa.              4.4
 Dallas, Texas             1,688.4| Fulton, Ga.                  30.4| Brevard, Fla.                 4.2
 Orange, Calif.            1,588.8| Santa Clara, Calif.          25.7| Seminole, Fla.                4.2
 San Diego, Calif.         1,427.5| Clark, Nev.                  23.7| Galveston, Texas              4.0
 King, Wash.               1,340.4| San Diego, Calif.            21.8| Thurston, Wash.               4.0
 Miami-Dade, Fla.          1,132.9| Orange, Fla.                 21.5| Benton, Wash.                 3.8
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Large County Average Weekly Wages

Average weekly wages for the nation declined to $1,067, a 1.5 percent decrease, during the year ending 
in the fourth quarter of 2016. Among the 344 largest counties, 290 had over-the-year decreases in 
average weekly wages. McLean, Ill., had the largest percentage wage decrease among the largest U.S. 
counties (-9.2 percent). (See table B.)

Of the 344 largest counties, 48 experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Clayton, 
Ga., had the largest percentage increase in average weekly wages (11.3 percent), followed by 
Washington, Pa.; Marin, Calif.; Elkhart, Ind.; San Francisco, Calif.; and Champaign, Ill. (See table 1.)

Table B.  Large counties ranked by fourth quarter 2016 average weekly wages, fourth quarter 2015-16 
decrease in average weekly wages, and fourth quarter 2015-16 percent decrease in average weekly wages 

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                                  Average weekly wage in large counties
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        Average weekly wage,      |    Decrease in average weekly    |    Percent decrease in average 
        fourth quarter 2016       |    wage, fourth quarter 2015-16  |        weekly wage, fourth
                                  |                                  |          quarter 2015-16
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                                  |                                  |                                  
 United States              $1,067| United States                -$16| United States                -1.5
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                                  |                                  |                                  
 Santa Clara, Calif.        $2,365| McLean, Ill.                 -$93| McLean, Ill.                 -9.2
 New York, N.Y.              2,212| Douglas, Colo.                -88| Clay, Mo.                    -8.3
 San Mateo, Calif.           2,098| Clay, Mo.                     -83| Lafayette, La.               -8.0
 San Francisco, Calif.       2,068| Morris, N.J.                  -80| Douglas, Colo.               -6.8
 Suffolk, Mass.              1,888| Lafayette, La.                -79| Passaic, N.J.                -6.0
 Washington, D.C.            1,763| Washington, Ore.              -75| Washington, Ore.             -5.8
 Arlington, Va.              1,677| Passaic, N.J.                 -67| Tarrant, Texas               -5.7
 Fairfield, Conn.            1,676| Fairfield, Conn.              -66| Sedgwick, Kan.               -5.5
 Fairfax, Va.                1,610| Lake, Ill.                    -65| Harford, Md.                 -5.4
 Somerset, N.J.              1,563| Harris, Texas                 -65| Fort Bend, Texas             -5.2
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Ten Largest U.S. Counties

Among the 10 largest counties, 9 had over-the-year percentage increases in employment in December 
2016. King, Wash., had the largest gain (3.3 percent). Within King, trade, transportation, and utilities 
had the largest over-the-year employment level increase, with a gain of 11,720 jobs, or 4.7 percent.
Harris, Texas, had the only percentage decrease in employment among the 10 largest counties (-1.3 
percent). Within Harris, manufacturing had the largest over-the-year employment level decrease, with a 
loss of 14,974 jobs, or -8.3 percent. (See table 2.)

Average weekly wages decreased over the year in 9 of the 10 largest U.S. counties. Harris, Texas, 
experienced the largest percentage loss in average weekly wages (-4.7 percent). Within Harris, 
professional and business services had the largest impact on the county’s average weekly wage decline. 
Within professional and business services, average weekly wages decreased by $92, or -5.2 percent, 
over the year. King, Wash., had the only percentage gain in average weekly wages among the 10 largest 
counties (3.5 percent). Within King, trade, transportation, and utilities had the largest impact on the 
county’s average weekly wage growth with an increase of $249 (20.2 percent) over the year.

For More Information

The tables included in this release contain data for the nation and for the 344 U.S. counties with annual 
average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2015. December 2016 employment and 2016 fourth 
quarter average weekly wages for all states are provided in table 3 of this release.

The data are derived from reports submitted by employers who are subject to unemployment insurance 
(UI) laws. The 9.9 million employer reports cover 143.7 million full- and part-time workers. Data for the 
fourth quarter of 2016 will be available later at www.bls.gov/cew. Additional information about the 
quarterly employment and wages data is available in the Technical Note. More information about 
QCEW data may be obtained by calling (202) 691-6567.

The most current news release on quarterly measures of gross job flows is available from QCEW 
Business Employment Dynamics at www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cewbd.pdf.

Several BLS regional offices issue QCEW news releases targeted to local data users. Links to these 
releases are available at www.bls.gov/cew/cewregional.htm.

_____________
The County Employment and Wages release for first quarter 2017 is scheduled to be released on 
Wednesday, September 6, 2017.

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|                                                                                                          |
|                                 Upcoming Industry Changes to QCEW Data                                   |
|                                                                                                          |
|  Beginning with the release of first quarter 2017 data, the program will switch to the 2017 version of   |
|  the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) as the basis for the assignment and           |
|  tabulation of economic data by industry. For more information on the change, please see the Federal     |
|  Register notice at www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/federal_register_notices/notices/fr08au16.pdf.          |
|                                                                                                          |
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Last Modified Date: June 07, 2017