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Economic News Release
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QCEW QCEW Program Links

County Employment and Wages Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET), Wednesday, November 18, 2020	USDL-20-2131

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

COUNTY EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES – SECOND QUARTER 2020

From June 2019 to June 2020, employment decreased in all of the 357 largest U.S. counties, the U.S. 
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. In June 2020, national employment (as measured by the 
QCEW program) decreased to 135.1 million, a 9.4-percent decrease over the year. Atlantic, NJ, had the 
largest over-the-year decrease in employment with a loss of 34.2 percent. Employment data in this 
release are presented for June 2020, and average weekly wage data are presented for second quarter 
2020. Employment in most of the country was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to 
contain it.

Among the 357 largest counties, 352 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. In the 
second quarter of 2020, average weekly wages for the nation increased to $1,188, an 8.6-percent 
increase over the year. Atlantic, NJ, had the largest second quarter over-the-year wage gain at 22.5 
percent. (See table 1.) The increases in average weekly wages largely reflect substantial employment 
loss among lower-paid industries.

Large County Employment in June 2020

Atlantic, NJ, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment (-34.2 percent). Within 
Atlantic, the largest employment decrease occurred in leisure and hospitality, which lost 33,336 jobs 
over the year (-75.2 percent).

Cleveland, OK, and Utah, UT, both experienced the smallest over-the-year percentage decrease in 
employment, each with a loss of 0.2 percent. Within Cleveland, leisure and hospitality had the largest 
employment decrease with a loss of 1,838 jobs (-13.7 percent). Within Utah, leisure and hospitality had 
the largest employment decrease with a loss of 2,297 jobs (-9.9 percent).

Large County Average Weekly Wage in Second Quarter 2020

Atlantic, NJ, had the largest over-the-year percentage increase in average weekly wages (+22.5 percent). 
Within Atlantic, an average weekly wage gain of $143 (+24.2 percent) in leisure and hospitality made 
the largest contribution to the county’s increase in average weekly wages.

Ector, TX, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in average weekly wages with a loss of 6.6 
percent. Within Ector, natural resources and mining had the largest impact, with an average weekly 
wage decrease of $84 (-4.7 percent) over the year.

Ten Largest Counties

All of the 10 largest counties had over-the-year percentage decreases in employment. In June 2020, New 
York, NY, had the largest over-the-year employment percentage loss (-18.8 percent). Within New York, 
leisure and hospitality had the largest employment decrease with a loss of 208,495 jobs (-66.1 percent). 
(See table 2.)

All of the 10 largest counties had over-the-year percentage increases in average weekly wages. In 
second quarter 2020, New York, NY, experienced the largest over-the-year percentage gain in average 
weekly wages (+14.9 percent). Within New York, leisure and hospitality had the largest impact, with an 
average weekly wage increase of $149 (+15.5 percent) over the year.

For More Information

The tables included in this release contain data for the nation and for the 357 U.S. counties with annual 
average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2019. June 2020 employment and second quarter 2020 
average weekly wages for all states are provided in table 3 of this release.

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/regional-resources.htm.

QCEW data are available in the Census Business Builder suite of web tools assisting business owners 
and regional analysts in data-driven decision making at www.census.gov/data/data-tools/cbb.html. 

The QCEW news release schedule is available at www.bls.gov/cew/release-calendar.htm.

____________
The County Employment and Wages full data update for second quarter 2020 is scheduled to be 
released on Wednesday, December 2, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. (ET). 

The County Employment and Wages news release for third quarter 2020 is scheduled to be 
released on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. (ET). 

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			Special Notice: Imputation Methodology Improvements

	QCEW implemented improvements to imputation methodology, effective with second quarter 2020 
	processing. QCEW imputation creates estimated values for non-respondent employers for the first 
	two quarters of non-response. After two quarters of non-response, establishments are converted 
	from non-respondents to establishment deaths. Usually, non-respondents account for less than 5 
	percent of QCEW employment. BLS expected substantially higher than usual numbers of non-respondent 
	employers in the second quarter of 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to 
	contain it. The national employment response rate for second quarter declined by 0.4 percent. 
	Changes to state response rates varied. For more information on QCEW response rates, 
	see www.bls.gov/cew/response-rates/home.htm. 

	QCEW implemented three improvements to imputation methodology. First, BLS summarized counts of
	the regular state unemployment insurance claims by employer to identify employers who may have 
	ceased operations, either temporarily or permanently. These employers were treated as business 
	deaths rather than being treated as late respondents. Second, for employers that are expected to 
	still be in operation during the reference time period, BLS modified the imputation formula to 
	use reported data for similar employers to create imputed levels of employment and wages. Third, 
	state QCEW staff used unemployment insurance claims information as a supplement to aid their 
	review of imputed and reported QCEW data.

	BLS applied these changes to data for non-respondent employers in the first and second quarters 
	of 2020. The impact on first quarter 2020 was negligible. The impact on second quarter 2020 
	employment was a decline of 0.2 percent, or a decline of about 270,000 from what would have been 
	reported for June 2020 employment. Total wages decreased by 0.1 percent. For more information on 
	QCEW imputation methodology and the impact of the improved methods, see 
	www.bls.gov/cew/additional-resources/imputation-methodology.htm.

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		Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on Second Quarter 2020 QCEW Data

	Response rate tables for the second quarter of 2020 are available at 
	www.bls.gov/covid19/county-employment-and-wages-covid-19-impact-second-quarter-2020.htm. 
	For more information about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on QCEW data, see
	www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-on-county-employment-and-wages-data.htm.
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The PDF version of the news release

Supplemental Files Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: November 18, 2020