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17-758-DAL
Thursday, June 15, 2017

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County Employment and Wages in Arkansas – Fourth Quarter 2016

Employment increased in the three largest Arkansas counties from December 2015 to December 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are those with 2015 annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more.) Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Stanley W. Suchman noted that the rates of job growth in two of the three large Arkansas counties exceeded the national average. Benton County’s 3.1-percent job gain ranked 32nd nationwide and Washington County’s 1.8-percent gain ranked 114th. Employment in Pulaski County rose 0.2 percent, below the national average. (See table 1.)

Nationally, employment advanced 1.2 percent from December 2015 to December 2016 with 280 of the 344 largest U.S. counties registering increases. Williamson, Tenn., recorded the largest percentage increase in the country, up 5.1 percent over the year. Lafayette, La., registered the largest percentage employment decline among large counties, down 5.1 percent.

Among the three largest counties in Arkansas, employment was highest in Pulaski County (250,700) in December 2016. Benton and Washington Counties had employment levels of 117,500 and 104,700, respectively. Together, the three largest Arkansas counties accounted for 39.2 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 344 largest counties made up 72.8 percent of total U.S. employment.

From the fourth quarter of 2015 to the fourth quarter of 2016, Pulaski County had the largest percentage decrease in average weekly wages in Arkansas’s large counties, down 2.6 percent. (See table 1.) Benton recorded the highest average weekly wage among the state’s large counties at $1,017 per week. Nationally, the average weekly wage decreased 1.5 percent from a year ago, declining to $1,067 in the fourth quarter of 2016. This is one of only eight national declines in the history of the series, which dates back to 1978, and was the largest decline since fourth quarter 2011 (-1.7 percent).

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 72 counties in Arkansas with employment levels below 75,000. Wage levels in all of these smaller counties were below the national average in December 2016. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

Average weekly wages declined in all three large Arkansas counties. Among the three, Washington experienced the smallest decline in average weekly wages, down 0.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the fourth quarter of 2016, less than the national average decrease of 1.5 percent. (See table 1.) The smaller over-the-year wage decline ranked 60th among the 344 large U.S. counties. Over-the-year wage decreases were greater than the U.S. average in Benton (-2.5 percent, 242nd) and Pulaski (-2.6 percent, 252nd).

Among the 344 large U.S. counties, 290 had over-the-year wage decreases. McLean, Ill., had the largest wage decline, down 9.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015. Clay, Mo., had the second-largest decline with an average weekly wage loss of 8.3 percent, followed by Lafayette, La., down 8.0 percent.

Of the 344 large U.S. counties, 48 experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Clayton, Ga., had the largest percentage increase in average weekly wages with a gain of 11.3 percent, followed by Washington, Pa. (4.9 percent); Marin, Calif. (4.3 percent); and Elkhart, Ind. (4.0 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Weekly wage levels in the state’s three large counties were below the nationwide average ($1,067) in the fourth quarter of 2016. Benton County's average weekly wage of $1,017 ranked 136th among the 344 large U.S. counties. Weekly wages in Washington and Pulaski Counties, at $950 and $949, respectively, ranked 187th and 188th nationally.

Among the large U.S. counties, 71 percent (243) reported average weekly wages below the national average of $1,067. Cameron, Texas, reported the lowest weekly wage ($640), followed by Hidalgo, Texas ($648) and Horry, S.C. ($654).

Nationally, 100 large counties registered average weekly wages above the U.S. average in the fourth quarter of 2016. Santa Clara, Calif., held the top position with an average weekly wage of $2,365. New York, N.Y., was second at $2,212, followed by San Mateo, Calif., at $2,098. Average weekly wages in the highest-ranked county, Santa Clara, Calif., were more than three times the average weekly wage in the lowest-ranked county, Cameron, Texas ($640).

Average weekly wages in Arkansas’s smaller counties

All 72 of Arkansas’s smaller counties – those with employment of less than 75,000 – reported weekly wages below the national average of $1,067 in the fourth quarter of 2016. Among these smaller counties, the highest weekly wages were in Calhoun ($988) and Little River ($970), while the lowest weekly wage was in Newton ($483). (See table 2.)

When all 75 counties in Arkansas were considered, 13 reported average weekly wages under $600, 38 reported wages from $600 to $699, 15 had wages from $700 to $799, and 9 averaged $800 or more per week. (See chart 1.) For the most part, higher-paying counties were located around the metropolitan areas of Blytheville, Fayetteville, Little Rock, and along the southern border of the state. Lower-paying counties were generally concentrated along the northern and western borders of the state.

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. The 2015 edition of this publication contains selected data produced by Business Employment Dynamics (BED) on job gains and losses, as well as selected data from the first quarter 2016 version of the national news release. Tables and additional content from Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online are now available online at www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn15.htm. The 2016 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2017.

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.

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

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.


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 9.9 million employer reports cover 143.7 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 (see Technical Note below) 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 sensory impaired individuals 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 3 largest counties in Arkansas, fourth quarter 2016
AreaEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December
2016
(thousands)
Percent change,
December
2015-16 (2)
National
ranking by
percent change (3)
Average
weekly
wage
National
ranking by
level (3)
Percent change,
fourth quarter
2015-16 (2)
National
ranking by
percent change (3)

United States (4)

143,749.91.2--$1,067---1.5--

Arkansas

1,205.40.4--82747-1.422

Benton, Ark.

117.53.1321,017136-2.5242

Pulaski, Ark.

250.70.6230949188-2.6252

Washington, Ark.

104.71.8114950187-0.260

(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: 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 Arkansas, 4th quarter 2016
AreaEmployment
December
2016
Average
weekly
wage(1)

United States(2)

143,749,910$1,067

Arkansas

1,205,391827

Arkansas

9,992836

Ashley

6,531794

Baxter

14,761679

Benton

117,5161,017

Boone

13,875716

Bradley

3,779649

Calhoun

2,837988

Carroll

10,751591

Chicot

3,222616

Clark

9,304648

Clay

3,260587

Cleburne

6,413646

Cleveland

980623

Columbia

8,036763

Conway

6,662724

Craighead

49,915741

Crawford

19,635678

Crittenden

16,644700

Cross

4,958651

Dallas

2,825609

Desha

4,567658

Drew

6,440674

Faulkner

40,593770

Franklin

4,549709

Fulton

1,851558

Garland

36,061699

Grant

4,065749

Greene

15,189712

Hempstead

7,903676

Hot Spring

8,536694

Howard

6,987627

Independence

15,881738

Izard

3,200626

Jackson

5,237681

Jefferson

28,364774

Johnson

8,943621

Lafayette

1,226674

Lawrence

4,073626

Lee

1,963621

Lincoln

2,869611

Little River

3,459970

Logan

5,562616

Lonoke

14,038679

Madison

3,248663

Marion

3,771564

Miller

12,957767

Mississippi

18,039882

Monroe

2,083580

Montgomery

1,347529

Nevada

2,520661

Newton

1,059483

Ouachita

7,067671

Perry

1,215629

Phillips

5,427631

Pike

2,508598

Poinsett

5,281690

Polk

5,879585

Pope

26,433809

Prairie

1,526668

Pulaski

250,699949

Randolph

5,257604

Saline

23,911695

Scott

3,127581

Searcy

1,513530

Sebastian

66,985790

Sevier

4,929613

Sharp

3,882581

St. Francis

7,830662

Stone

2,546562

Union

17,628905

Van Buren

3,533680

Washington

104,728950

White

24,385730

Woodruff

1,779696

Yell

6,509605

(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 2016
StateEmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December
2016
(thousands)
Percent change,
December
2015-16
Average
weekly
wage
National
ranking by
level
Percent change,
fourth quarter
2015-16
National
ranking by
percent change

United States (2)

143,749.91.21067---1.5--

Alabama

1,932.60.790135-1.321

Alaska

310.0-1.9103817-5.251

Arizona

2,760.12.194525-2.234

Arkansas

1,205.40.482747-1.422

California

16,923.31.912715-0.34

Colorado

2,588.62.0108612-1.524

Connecticut

1,685.50.012894-3.446

Delaware

441.2-0.1105515-2.944

District of Columbia

760.90.5176310.62

Florida

8,538.92.794227-1.828

Georgia

4,349.32.499320-0.914

Hawaii

658.30.795424-0.34

Idaho

691.63.280050-0.48

Illinois

5,947.60.411229-2.031

Indiana

3,021.70.988338-0.914

Iowa

1,542.00.191133-1.016

Kansas

1,384.50.187739-2.234

Kentucky

1,894.20.687441-1.422

Louisiana

1,907.4-1.691432-2.944

Maine

602.60.885543-2.133

Maryland

2,666.71.011697-0.48

Massachusetts

3,530.41.313522-2.439

Michigan

4,283.01.5102619-1.625

Minnesota

2,839.71.2106214-1.118

Mississippi

1,134.00.075651-1.828

Missouri

2,783.20.991831-1.727

Montana

456.50.7822480.53

Nebraska

972.40.087640-0.510

Nevada

1,307.82.792429-1.220

New Hampshire

656.91.3109210-4.148

New Jersey

4,042.11.412396-1.930

New Mexico

811.40.084445-2.541

New York

9,332.51.213423-2.336

North Carolina

4,326.31.893228-0.713

North Dakota

414.4-3.297821-4.249

Ohio

5,365.60.794326-2.336

Oklahoma

1,587.7-1.286442-3.547

Oregon

1,860.72.497022-1.016

Pennsylvania

5,799.80.7103916-2.336

Rhode Island

478.30.0102718-1.625

South Carolina

2,024.31.885543-0.612

South Dakota

419.90.582846-0.510

Tennessee

2,947.51.897022-1.118

Texas

11,974.71.2107213-2.541

Utah

1,415.12.991034-0.34

Vermont

312.60.189736-2.439

Virginia

3,831.60.6109111-0.34

Washington

3,227.92.8115081.71

West Virginia

693.1-1.680949-2.541

Wisconsin

2,842.40.592429-2.031

Wyoming

265.8-3.989437-4.750

Puerto Rico

928.2-0.3555(3)-1.9(3)

Virgin Islands

38.50.2769(3)-1.8(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: 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, June 15, 2017