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21-790-DAL
Monday, June 14, 2021

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Technical information:
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County Employment and Wages in Arkansas – Fourth Quarter 2020

Employment fell in the three largest counties in Arkansas from December 2019 to December 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are those with annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2019.) Regional Commissioner Michael Hirniak noted that Pulaski County (-4.3 percent) had the largest over-the-year decline in Arkansas employment. Pulaski’s rate of job loss ranked 100th among the 357 large U.S. counties. (See chart 1 and table 1.)


National employment decreased 6.1 percent over the year, with 352 of the 357 largest U.S. counties reporting declines. Maui + Kalawao, HI, had the largest over-the-year decrease in employment with a loss of 22.8 percent. Utah, UT, experienced the largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment with a gain of 3.8 percent.

Among the three largest counties in Arkansas, employment was highest in Pulaski County (242,400) in December 2020. Within Pulaski County’s private industry, health care and social assistance accounted for the largest employment. Together, the three largest Arkansas counties accounted for 39.8 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 357 largest counties made up 73.1 percent of total U.S. employment.

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 72 counties in Arkansas with employment below 75,000. Wage levels in all of the smaller counties were below the national average in the fourth quarter of 2020. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

The three large Arkansas counties reported average weekly wage gains from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020. (See chart 2.) Pulaski County’s 13.9-percent rate of wage gain was above the national rate of 13.0 percent. Benton County and Washington County had gains of 10.5 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively.


Among the 357 largest counties in the United States, 356 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 results in higher average weekly wages for the industry and the nation. San Francisco, CA, had the largest percentage wage increase (+44.3 percent). Ector, TX, had the only over-the-year percentage decrease (-7.5 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Weekly wages in the three largest counties in Arkansas were below the national average of $1,339 in the fourth quarter of 2020. Benton County's average weekly wage of $1,232 ranked 148th among the 357 large U.S. counties. Weekly wages in Pulaski County ($1,149) and Washington County ($1,121) ranked 208th and 229th, respectively.

Among the largest U.S. counties, 89 reported average weekly wages above the U.S. average in the fourth quarter of 2020. Santa Clara, CA, had the highest average weekly wage at $3,690. Average weekly wages were below the national average in the remaining 268 counties. At $760 a week, Cameron, TX, had the lowest average weekly wage.

Average weekly wages in Arkansas’s smaller counties

Among the 72 smaller counties in Arkansas—those with employment below 75,000—Calhoun County had the highest wages ($1,247), followed by Mississippi County ($1,232). Five other small counties had average weekly wages greater than $1,000. The lowest weekly wage was in Newton County ($609).

When all 75 counties in Arkansas were considered, 6 reported average weekly wages of less than $700, 46 registered wages from $700 to $849, 16 had wages from $850 to $999, and 7 had average weekly wages of $1,000 or higher. (See chart 3.) Higher-paying counties were generally located around the metropolitan areas of Blytheville, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Little Rock, Texarkana, and along the southern border of the state. The lowest-paying counties were primarily concentrated along or near the western and northern border 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 2019 edition of this publication was published in September 2020. Tables and additional content from the 2019 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online are available at www.bls.gov/cew/publications/employment-and-wages-annual-averages/2019/home.htm. The 2020 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2021.

The County Employment and Wages release for first quarter 2021 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, August 18, 2021.
The County Employment and Wages full data update for first quarter 2021 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, September 1, 2021.

QCEW Imputation Issue Caused by Pandemic-Related Challenges

In the spring of 2020, BLS modified its imputation process for QCEW to be more responsive to current economic conditions. While continuing work to improve this process, BLS made an unintended data processing error. This error affected data for the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2020. BLS has analyzed this issue and has determined that the impact on QCEW employment was negligible at the statewide level. In smaller areas and industries, revisions may be larger than usual. Wage data were not affected. Following the usual QCEW practice, these data will be revised and corrected with the full data update on September 1, 2021.

For more information on QCEW imputation methodology, see www.bls.gov/cew/additional-resources/imputation-methodology.htm.


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 three largest counties in Arkansas, fourth quarter 2020
AreaEstablishments,
fourth quarter 2020
(thousands)
EmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December 2020
(thousands)
Percent change,
December 2019–20 (2)
National ranking
by percent change (3)
Fourth quarter
2020
National ranking
by level (3)
Percent change,
fourth quarter 2019–20 (2)
National ranking
by percent change (3)

United States (4)

10,675.8140,881.3-6.1--$1,339--13.0--

Arkansas

94.61,194.8-3.2--9994911.436

Benton

7.2124.3-1.5181,23214810.5266

Pulaski

14.6242.4-4.31001,14920813.994

Washington

6.5109.3-2.8491,12122910.3279

(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 Arkansas, fourth quarter 2020
AreaEmployment
December
2020
Average
weekly
wage(1)

United States(2)

140,881,253$1,339

Arkansas

1,194,829999

Arkansas

10,416933

Ashley

5,698876

Baxter

14,991806

Benton

124,3021,232

Boone

13,933885

Bradley

3,659802

Calhoun

3,5031,247

Carroll

10,544729

Chicot

2,801782

Clark

8,559823

Clay

3,113723

Cleburne

6,192773

Cleveland

988782

Columbia

7,725878

Conway

6,942840

Craighead

52,036920

Crawford

19,378828

Crittenden

15,241846

Cross

4,576748

Dallas

2,696768

Desha

4,460828

Drew

6,287802

Faulkner

40,792894

Franklin

4,650775

Fulton

2,075728

Garland

36,031835

Grant

4,074936

Greene

14,916874

Hempstead

7,488822

Hot Spring

8,255851

Howard

6,504774

Independence

16,385886

Izard

2,763707

Jackson

5,163799

Jefferson

26,670927

Johnson

8,178727

Lafayette

1,052738

Lawrence

3,853772

Lee

1,715804

Lincoln

2,707775

Little River

3,0211,091

Logan

5,185721

Lonoke

13,774773

Madison

3,383808

Marion

3,260740

Miller

12,038927

Mississippi

16,8301,157

Monroe

1,940739

Montgomery

1,131628

Nevada

2,294807

Newton

999609

Ouachita

6,616789

Perry

1,142750

Phillips

5,106747

Pike

2,604773

Poinsett

5,152879

Polk

5,665721

Pope

24,395897

Prairie

1,543760

Pulaski

242,4091,149

Randolph

5,938748

Saline

25,583805

Scott

3,027693

Searcy

1,407612

Sebastian

62,356964

Sevier

4,792739

Sharp

3,402645

St. Francis

6,735862

Stone

2,468652

Union

16,3221,021

Van Buren

3,342751

Washington

109,2991,121

White

24,019837

Woodruff

1,800830

Yell

6,499731

(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 2020
StateEstablishments,
fourth quarter 2020
(thousands)
EmploymentAverage weekly wage (1)
December 2020
(thousands)
Percent change,
December 2019–20
Fourth quarter
2020
National ranking
by level
Percent change,
fourth quarter 2019–20
National ranking
by percent change

United States (2)

10,675.8140,881.3-6.1$1,339--13.0--

Alabama

134.61,951.2-2.91,0963511.436

Alaska

23.1290.1-6.41,2601710.644

Arizona

173.92,908.7-3.31,2142214.69

Arkansas

94.61,194.8-3.29994911.436

California

1,660.216,380.1-8.31,724318.51

Colorado

219.62,613.7-5.71,3781012.325

Connecticut

126.81,578.4-6.51,551612.227

Delaware

35.1432.9-5.21,2621611.338

District of Columbia

43.8713.0-8.92,293115.26

Florida

765.48,642.8-5.01,1802413.117

Georgia

319.74,405.9-4.01,2082310.942

Hawaii

47.3561.1-16.11,2192116.04

Idaho

71.8763.50.81,0344712.821

Illinois

386.35,573.8-7.81,3781013.018

Indiana

173.12,985.1-4.01,0763911.239

Iowa

105.61,494.3-4.31,0993411.632

Kansas

89.91,346.9-4.51,0704011.534

Kentucky

130.41,839.6-4.81,0574210.843

Louisiana

140.81,796.9-7.01,078388.648

Maine

55.4594.3-4.31,0923614.510

Maryland

174.52,546.1-6.71,445813.616

Massachusetts

266.73,365.8-8.31,766217.03

Michigan

265.33,998.2-8.91,2571912.821

Minnesota

186.42,684.1-7.91,3221312.325

Mississippi

76.11,119.1-2.49015110.445

Missouri

221.52,724.4-4.31,1273311.632

Montana

54.6467.4-1.41,0354512.723

Nebraska

72.5962.7-2.91,0793711.534

Nevada

90.21,283.1-10.71,1782514.411

New Hampshire

57.1637.3-5.21,406917.92

New Jersey

291.03,860.5-7.21,517713.915

New Mexico

64.8767.1-9.51,0524311.829

New York

662.48,693.4-10.31,712414.213

North Carolina

301.74,431.0-2.71,1522911.239

North Dakota

32.6394.4-7.11,136314.750

Ohio

307.35,199.9-5.11,1612712.028

Oklahoma

113.61,569.1-4.41,013487.349

Oregon

167.31,824.3-7.51,2562014.213

Pennsylvania

370.55,549.4-7.41,2871512.624

Rhode Island

40.7449.6-8.31,2591814.77

South Carolina

149.22,074.4-3.51,0354511.141

South Dakota

35.5422.8-1.91,0484414.411

Tennessee

176.23,002.5-2.71,1722611.730

Texas

743.112,251.1-4.31,294149.047

Utah

117.91,557.80.61,1542812.920

Vermont

26.6286.1-8.91,1333214.77

Virginia

289.83,796.1-4.71,3601213.018

Washington

259.73,219.7-6.81,589516.04

West Virginia

51.9654.1-5.39975010.346

Wisconsin

184.22,762.5-4.81,1403011.730

Wyoming

27.7260.2-5.31,061414.651

Puerto Rico

46.0873.8-4.0621(3)8.0(3)

Virgin Islands

3.535.3-11.51,057(3)-1.3(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: Monday, June 14, 2021