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21-1689-PHI
Thursday, September 16, 2021

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County Employment and Wages in Virginia – First Quarter 2021

Average weekly wages increased in all 12 largest counties

Employment fell in the 12 largest counties and county equivalents in Virginia from March 2020 to March 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are those with annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2020.) Regional Commissioner Alexandra Hall Bovee noted that Arlington County and Alexandra City had the largest over-the-year decreases in employment at 8.3 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

National employment decreased 4.5 percent over the year, with 324 of the 343 largest U.S. counties reporting declines. Calcasieu, LA, had the largest over-the-year decrease in employment with a loss of 14.9 percent. Utah, UT, experienced the largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment with a gain of 6.1 percent.

Among the 12 largest counties in Virginia, employment was highest in Fairfax County (594,500) in March 2021. Within Fairfax County’s private industry, professional and technical services accounted for the largest employment. Together, the 12 largest Virginia counties accounted for 55.8 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 343 largest counties made up 72.3 percent of total U.S. employment.

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 121 counties in Virginia with employment below 75,000. Wage levels in 114 of the 121 smaller counties were below the national average in the first quarter of 2021. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

All 12 large Virginia counties reported average weekly wage gains from the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021. (See chart 2.) Three of these counties had rates of wage gains that were above the national rate of 5.6 percent. Richmond City had the largest gain (+7.6 percent), followed by Chesapeake City (+6.6 percent) and Virginia Beach City (+5.7 percent).

Among the 343 largest counties in the United States, 312 had over-the-year wage increases. Nationally, across most industries, increases in average weekly wages reflect substantial employment declines combined with wage increases. The lowest paying industry, leisure and hospitality, had the largest employment loss, which resulted in higher average weekly wages for the industry and the nation. San Francisco, CA, had the largest percentage wage increase (+33.9 percent). Clayton, GA, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease (-14.2 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Weekly wages in the 5 of the 12 largest counties in Virginia were above the national average of $1,289 in the first quarter of 2021. Average weekly wages in four of these counties ranked among the top 50 nationwide: Arlington ($2,077, 12th), Fairfax ($1,981, 13th), Alexandria City ($1,575, 36th), and Richmond City ($1,460, 49th).

Among the largest U.S. counties, 84 reported average weekly wages above the U.S. average in the first quarter of 2021. New York, NY, had the highest average weekly wage at $3,967. Average weekly wages were below the national average in the remaining 259 counties. At $685 a week, Cameron, TX, had the lowest average weekly wage.

Average weekly wages in Virginia’s smaller counties

Among the 121 smaller counties in Virginia—those with employment below 75,000—7 counties reported an average weekly wage above the national average of $1,289. Goochland County ($2,518) reported the highest among the small counties, and the highest average weekly wage in the state. Grayson County ($585) reported the lowest average weekly wage in the state.

When all 133 counties in Virginia were considered, 44 reported average weekly wages of less than $750, 29 had wages from $750 to $849, 22 had wages from $850 to $949, and 38 had average weekly wages of $950 or higher. (See chart 3.)

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 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. This publication is typically published in September of the following year of the reference period or shortly after the QCEW first quarter full data update. The Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online is available at www.bls.gov/cew/publications/employment-and-wages-annual-averages/.

The County Employment and Wages release for second quarter 2021 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, November 17, 2021. The County Employment and Wages full data update for second quarter 2021 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.


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 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.

Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

Table 1. Covered employment and wages in the United States and the 12 largest counties in Virginia, first quarter 2021
AreaEstablishments,
first quarter 2021
(thousands)
EmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
March 2021
(thousands)
Percent change,
March 2020–21 (2)
National ranking
by percent change (3)
First quarter
2021
National ranking
by level (3)
Percent change,
first quarter 2020–21 (2)
National ranking
by percent change (3)

United States (4)

10,755.4140,455.8-4.5--$1,289--5.6--

Virginia

291.33,765.8-3.9--1,285124.224

Alexandria City

6.382.3-7.22871,575364.8136

Arlington

9.4170.2-8.33142,077123.0232

Chesapeake City

6.499.6-4.81689512816.670

Chesterfield

9.6131.8-3.81179922512.1267

Fairfax

37.6594.5-3.81171,981133.1228

Henrico

12.0181.0-5.21931,2211083.7191

Loudoun

13.3166.8-5.31981,419565.1120

Newport News City

4.1100.5-3.91251,0801791.8279

Norfolk City

6.1131.9-5.92281,1771305.5104

Prince William

9.8126.5-4.01291,0252255.2117

Richmond City

8.2147.0-6.82741,460497.646

Virginia Beach City

12.7167.6-4.51559143075.798

Footnotes:
(1) Average weekly wages were calculated using unrounded data.
(2) Percent changes were computed from 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: Data are preliminary. Covered employment and wages includes workers covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) programs.

 Table 2. Covered employment and wages in the United States and all counties in Virginia, first quarter 2021
AreaEmployment March 2021Average Weekly Wage(1)

United States(2)

140,455,819$1,289

Virginia

3,765,8481,285

Accomack

11,762833

Albemarle

55,4611,110

Alleghany

3,469709

Amelia

2,500729

Amherst

7,573738

Appomattox

3,267633

Arlington

170,1812,077

Augusta

27,027928

Bath

1,809854

Bedford

17,747765

Bland

1,834873

Botetourt

10,579849

Brunswick

3,114719

Buchanan

5,497900

Buckingham

2,906758

Campbell

17,0201,027

Caroline

5,499808

Carroll

5,988624

Charles City

1,546884

Charlotte

2,750684

Chesterfield

131,761992

Clarke

3,565893

Craig

717774

Culpeper

15,560865

Cumberland

1,233673

Dickenson

3,364770

Dinwiddie

8,5241,002

Essex

3,454716

Fairfax County

594,4531,981

Fauquier

21,4581,060

Floyd

3,440616

Fluvanna

4,301830

Franklin

14,866685

Frederick

33,6611,022

Giles

4,819873

Gloucester

9,259735

Goochland

18,6472,518

Grayson

3,187585

Greene

3,697701

Greensville

4,219941

Halifax

11,364771

Hanover

51,155919

Henrico

180,9881,221

Henry

15,369689

Highland

439636

Isle of Wight

11,0041,113

James City

26,246869

King and Queen

1,081778

King George

12,6551,567

King William

3,758878

Lancaster

4,337762

Lee

3,960689

Loudoun

166,7801,419

Louisa

9,8191,031

Lunenburg

2,2091,885

Madison

3,044747

Mathews

1,486598

Mecklenburg

10,832743

Middlesex

3,104707

Montgomery

41,110961

Nelson

3,707691

New Kent

4,950770

Northampton

3,941664

Northumberland

2,266873

Nottoway

5,439779

Orange

9,531789

Page

5,067691

Patrick

4,046599

Pittsylvania

12,029749

Powhatan

7,442816

Prince Edward

8,658767

Prince George

14,5081,049

Prince William

126,5011,025

Pulaski

13,556821

Rappahannock

1,411774

Richmond County

2,685766

Roanoke County

37,673863

Rockbridge

5,763660

Rockingham

32,863906

Russell

6,407792

Scott

4,585693

Shenandoah

13,449843

Smyth

11,510711

Southampton

3,410742

Spotsylvania

34,906861

Stafford

45,4631,179

Surry

1,9141,715

Sussex

3,171842

Tazewell

13,681690

Warren

12,893812

Washington

18,345742

Westmoreland

3,133664

Wise

10,699715

Wythe

10,826740

York

19,344782

Alexandria City

82,3181,575

Bristol City

8,969717

Buena Vista City

1,919716

Charlottesville City

36,3731,224

Chesapeake City

99,570951

Colonial Heights City

9,669668

Covington City

3,689993

Danville City

23,407755

Emporia City

3,206610

Fairfax City

18,3441,310

Falls Church City

11,1461,422

Franklin City

4,004620

Fredericksburg City

22,601977

Galax City

5,401628

Hampton City

49,5761,025

Harrisonburg City

29,273808

Hopewell City

7,3261,085

Lexington City

4,496893

Lynchburg City

48,753926

Manassas City

22,7981,369

Manassas Park City

3,704905

Martinsville City

8,793694

Newport News City

100,4601,080

Norfolk City

131,9391,177

Norton City

3,060790

Petersburg City

11,698784

Poquoson City

1,714647

Portsmouth City

43,0911,077

Radford City

5,670932

Richmond City

146,9911,460

Roanoke City

61,996979

Salem City

18,5401,000

Staunton City

10,782747

Suffolk City

32,5201,155

Virginia Beach City

167,565914

Waynesboro City

8,920770

Williamsburg City

10,750891

Winchester City

24,633970

Footnotes
(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: 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, first quarter 2021
StateEstablishments,
first quarter 2021
(thousands)
EmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
March 2021
(thousands)
Percent change,
March 2020–21
First quarter
2021
National ranking
by level
Percent change,
first quarter 2020–21
National ranking
by percent change

United States (2)

10,755.4140,455.8-4.5$1,289--5.6--

Alabama

135.91,924.3-3.0996372.540

Alaska

23.3295.0-5.51,12523-0.648

Arizona

176.52,894.2-2.31,150214.817

Arkansas

95.31,194.2-2.0957433.730

California

1,651.416,507.7-5.91,623411.31

Colorado

224.72,634.7-3.51,335104.125

Connecticut

128.31,550.5-5.41,57554.719

Delaware

35.2425.6-4.11,264131.644

District of Columbia

44.0708.1-9.02,16618.74

Florida

780.88,701.9-3.11,104245.113

Georgia

329.24,393.8-2.61,198173.633

Hawaii

48.0564.4-14.11,091265.79

Idaho

74.2768.61.9906504.915

Illinois

390.05,559.6-5.51,38786.77

Indiana

176.22,956.4-2.51,026343.337

Iowa

105.11,473.6-3.31,004352.639

Kansas

90.41,335.4-3.3986391.943

Kentucky

130.71,835.2-2.5965412.342

Louisiana

141.51,787.6-5.9977401.046

Maine

56.2585.0-2.81,000364.719

Maryland

174.32,522.1-5.01,38698.55

Massachusetts

271.23,334.9-6.61,73237.86

Michigan

267.54,026.6-5.91,155204.817

Minnesota

189.72,695.4-5.11,290114.622

Mississippi

75.31,098.4-2.5811511.145

Missouri

221.82,705.5-3.01,055303.730

Montana

53.2465.20.1915485.410

Nebraska

73.4944.7-2.8990383.633

Nevada

92.81,291.5-8.41,080274.719

New Hampshire

56.8631.8-3.91,258155.410

New Jersey

297.03,818.6-5.51,53375.312

New Mexico

65.2774.5-7.4958423.828

New York

664.68,587.8-8.71,869210.42

North Carolina

302.74,423.2-1.71,137224.125

North Dakota

32.3388.7-6.11,03732-0.951

Ohio

310.15,136.8-3.91,098253.337

Oklahoma

114.41,549.7-3.793946-0.850

Oregon

169.41,841.9-5.21,172186.48

Pennsylvania

369.75,531.3-5.41,226164.323

Rhode Island

41.2447.8-5.61,171193.435

South Carolina

150.12,056.2-2.6957433.828

South Dakota

35.6417.1-0.9932473.435

Tennessee

180.22,968.7-2.11,077285.014

Texas

750.112,216.7-3.41,261142.441

Utah

117.31,548.81.51,065293.730

Vermont

27.0283.7-6.91,028334.915

Virginia

291.33,765.8-3.91,285124.224

Washington

261.23,252.0-5.11,54069.13

West Virginia

52.3648.6-3.8911490.847

Wisconsin

183.12,730.0-3.71,047313.927

Wyoming

27.8255.9-4.695345-0.648

Puerto Rico

47.1856.5-3.1562(3)2.0(3)

Virgin Islands

3.634.7-14.0961(3)-8.0(3)

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

 

Last Modified Date: Thursday, September 16, 2021