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19-1410-SAN
Wednesday, July 31, 2019

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County Employment and Wages in California – Fourth Quarter 2018

Job growth in 15 of the state’s large counties exceeded the national rate of 1.5 percent

Employment increased in 28 of the 29 large counties in California from December 2017 to December 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are those with 2017 annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more.) Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Richard Holden noted that the annual rates of job growth in 15 large counties in California exceeded the national rate of 1.5 percent in December 2018. San Francisco County had the largest increase in employment at 3.8 percent, followed by Kern County at 3.6 percent. The only large county with an employment decline was Butte (-0.9 percent).

Nationally, 296 of the 349 largest U.S. counties registered increases from December 2017 to December 2018. Midland, TX, recorded the largest percentage increase in the country, up 10.0 percent over the year. Bay, FL, experienced the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment, with a loss of 5.6 percent.

Among the 29 largest counties in California, employment was highest in Los Angeles County (4,515,900) in December 2018, while Napa County had the smallest employment level (76,300). Together, California’s large counties accounted for 94.2 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 349 largest counties made up 73.2 percent of total U.S. employment.

From the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018, average weekly wages increased in all but one of California’s large counties. Nationally, average weekly wages advanced 3.2 percent. (See table 1.)

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 29 counties in California with employment below 75,000. All of these smaller counties had average weekly wages below the national average of $1,144 in the fourth quarter of 2018. (See table 2).

Large county wage changes

As noted, average weekly wages in 28 large California counties increased from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018. San Francisco County’s 10.4-percent wage increase was the largest in the state and ranked seventh among the 349 large U.S. counties. Seven other counties’ wage gains in the state ranked in the top quarter nationally. The only county with a wage decline in the state was San Mateo, down 1.1 percent. (See table 1.)

Nationally, 332 of the 349 largest counties had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Tippecanoe, IN, had the largest over-the-year wage gain at 15.1 percent, followed by Williamson, TN (13.1 percent) and Olmsted, MN (13.0 percent).

Of the 349 largest U.S. counties, 15 had over-the-year wage decreases. Washington, PA, had the largest percentage decrease in average weekly wages (-6.6 percent), followed by Elkhart, IN (-5.0 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Nationwide, average weekly wages were above the U.S. average ($1,144) in 94 of the 349 largest counties in the fourth quarter of 2018. In California, wages in 13 of the 29 large counties exceeded the national average during the same period. Three California counties held the top positions in the nation: Santa Clara ($2,670, 1st), San Francisco ($2,452, 2nd), and San Mateo ($2,410, 3rd).

Among the largest U.S. counties, 255 had weekly wages below the national average in the fourth quarter of 2018. Hidalgo, TX ($680) reported the lowest wage, followed by the counties of Cameron, TX, and Horry, SC ($685 each).

The lowest average weekly wages in California counties were Tulare ($813, 333rd), Merced ($837, 329th), and Butte ($869, 313th), all within the bottom fifth of the national ranking.

Average weekly wages in California’s smaller counties

All 29 counties in California with employment below 75,000 had average weekly wages lower than the national average of $1,144. Among these smaller counties, Yuba had the highest average weekly wage at $1,033 in the fourth quarter of 2018, while Alpine ($647) had the lowest weekly wage. (See table 2.)

When all 58 counties in California were considered, 7 had wages of $799 or lower. Eighteen counties had average weekly wages ranging from $800 to $899, 13 had wages from $900 to $999, and 20 had wages at or above $1,000. (See chart 1.)

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 2017 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 2018 version of the national news release. Tables and additional content from Employment and Wages Annual Averages 2017 are now available online at https://www.bls.gov/cew/cewbultn17.htm. The 2018 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2019.

The County Employment and Wages release for first quarter 2019 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, August 21, 2019. The County Employment and Wages full data update for first quarter 2019 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.

The BLS Local Data App Now Available for Android Devices

The BLS Local Data app, first released for iPhones last fall, is now available for Android devices. Search using your current location, a zip code, or a location name to find employment and wage data for detailed industries and occupations. BLS continues to partner with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Chief Information Officer to expand the features and data in the app. For more information please visit: https://beta.bls.gov/labs/blogs/2019/04/17/blslocal-data-app-now-available-for-android-devices/.


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 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 29 largest counties in California, fourth quarter 2018
Area Employment Average weekly wage (1)
December 2018 (thousands) Percent change, December 2017-18 (2) National ranking by percent change (3) Average weekly wage National ranking by level (3) Percent change, fourth quarter 2017-18 (2) National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

148,061.8 1.5 -- $1,144 -- 3.2 --

California

17,556.7 1.7 -- 1,392 4 3.3 26

Alameda, Calif.

793.0 1.5 134 1,511 15 4.2 80

Butte, Calif.

82.8 -0.9 340 869 313 5.5 34

Contra Costa, Calif.

370.1 0.1 282 1,387 28 3.4 137

Fresno, Calif.

392.0 3.1 24 904 291 1.7 279

Kern, Calif.

326.1 3.6 14 923 276 3.6 113

Los Angeles, Calif.

4,515.9 1.2 161 1,380 30 2.1 249

Marin, Calif.

116.7 0.6 227 1,466 19 4.2 80

Merced, Calif.

79.6 0.4 251 837 329 2.6 210

Monterey, Calif.

178.2 1.7 114 966 230 1.7 279

Napa, Calif.

76.3 2.0 81 1,158 84 3.5 128

Orange, Calif.

1,647.4 0.8 198 1,251 58 0.6 320

Placer, Calif.

170.1 2.6 41 1,120 107 1.4 296

Riverside, Calif.

750.5 2.1 69 883 306 1.1 310

Sacramento, Calif.

672.6 2.2 60 1,208 68 2.9 187

San Bernardino, Calif.

773.0 2.2 60 934 262 3.0 176

San Diego, Calif.

1,485.8 1.6 126 1,260 55 3.2 155

San Francisco, Calif.

759.6 3.8 11 2,452 2 10.4 7

San Joaquin, Calif.

255.0 1.3 149 961 235 4.0 89

San Luis Obispo, Calif.

117.3 1.8 100 976 224 4.6 65

San Mateo, Calif.

412.5 2.0 81 2,410 3 -1.1 341

Santa Barbara, Calif.

197.8 1.3 149 1,111 113 4.5 69

Santa Clara, Calif.

1,118.3 2.3 54 2,670 1 4.7 62

Santa Cruz, Calif.

101.1 0.6 227 1,023 181 5.7 31

Solano, Calif.

143.4 1.2 161 1,153 87 3.3 146

Sonoma, Calif.

211.6 1.4 139 1,122 105 5.1 51

Stanislaus, Calif.

188.4 0.8 198 943 254 3.1 164

Tulare, Calif.

162.8 1.9 86 813 333 0.1 332

Ventura, Calif.

330.2 0.5 242 1,102 120 2.4 227

Yolo, Calif.

104.0 2.0 81 1,204 71 3.6 113

Footnotes:
(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 California, fourth quarter 2018
Area Employment December 2018 Average Weekly Wage(1)

United States(2)

148,061,773 $1,144

California

17,556,654 1,392

Alameda

792,968 1,511

Alpine

1,104 647

Amador

12,278 907

Butte

82,781 869

Calaveras

9,724 827

Colusa

8,718 912

Contra Costa

370,060 1,387

Del Norte

7,963 760

El Dorado

59,380 1,019

Fresno

391,986 904

Glenn

9,142 863

Humboldt

51,124 806

Imperial

62,578 799

Inyo

7,536 890

Kern

326,083 923

Kings

49,050 863

Lake

16,122 777

Lassen

9,844 939

Los Angeles

4,515,898 1,380

Madera

50,906 864

Marin

116,740 1,466

Mariposa

5,317 803

Mendocino

32,518 798

Merced

79,605 837

Modoc

2,350 781

Mono

7,691 767

Monterey

178,180 966

Napa

76,261 1,158

Nevada

32,488 921

Orange

1,647,448 1,251

Placer

170,087 1,120

Plumas

6,142 860

Riverside

750,475 883

Sacramento

672,611 1,208

San Benito

16,238 972

San Bernardino

772,975 934

San Diego

1,485,827 1,260

San Francisco

759,635 2,452

San Joaquin

255,034 961

San Luis Obispo

117,300 976

San Mateo

412,452 2,410

Santa Barbara

197,802 1,111

Santa Clara

1,118,270 2,670

Santa Cruz

101,127 1,023

Shasta

67,052 888

Sierra

506 839

Siskiyou

13,404 816

Solano

143,437 1,153

Sonoma

211,580 1,122

Stanislaus

188,401 943

Sutter

29,929 842

Tehama

18,572 895

Trinity

2,653 911

Tulare

162,794 813

Tuolumne

17,735 883

Ventura

330,221 1,102

Yolo

103,963 1,204

Yuba

18,148 1,033

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, fourth quarter 2018
State Employment Average weekly wage (1)
December 2018 (thousands) Percent change, December 2017-18 Average weekly wage National ranking by level Percent change, fourth quarter 2017-18 National ranking by percent change

United States (2)

148,061.8 1.5 $1,144 -- 3.2 --

Alabama

1,986.6 1.6 957 36 3.1 33

Alaska

308.3 0.4 1,103 16 4.9 7

Arizona

2,921.1 3.0 1,017 24 4.1 11

Arkansas

1,227.0 0.8 869 50 2.4 43

California

17,556.7 1.7 1,392 4 3.3 26

Colorado

2,713.7 2.2 1,180 10 4.1 11

Connecticut

1,697.9 0.5 1,334 5 1.3 49

Delaware

451.2 1.1 1,107 15 2.4 43

District of Columbia

775.1 0.6 1,943 1 7.3 2

Florida

8,902.7 2.1 1,006 27 3.1 33

Georgia

4,499.8 1.8 1,053 21 2.4 43

Hawaii

669.3 0.6 1,016 25 3.3 26

Idaho

734.4 3.2 890 47 3.6 20

Illinois

6,026.0 0.3 1,189 9 3.3 26

Indiana

3,086.2 0.9 941 38 2.8 37

Iowa

1,558.4 0.5 966 35 3.0 35

Kansas

1,402.2 0.8 927 41 3.7 18

Kentucky

1,914.0 0.3 924 42 3.2 30

Louisiana

1,934.1 0.7 968 34 3.8 15

Maine

618.4 1.3 906 44 2.5 41

Maryland

2,702.5 0.8 1,228 8 1.7 48

Massachusetts

3,620.3 1.0 1,457 2 3.3 26

Michigan

4,366.5 1.0 1,077 19 1.3 49

Minnesota

2,902.3 0.9 1,140 14 3.6 20

Mississippi

1,144.3 0.2 793 51 2.5 41

Missouri

2,821.3 0.5 980 31 3.6 20

Montana

468.8 1.6 888 48 5.2 5

Nebraska

983.0 0.2 930 40 3.2 30

Nevada

1,397.4 3.3 1,006 27 5.3 4

New Hampshire

666.0 0.7 1,158 12 2.3 46

New Jersey

4,125.6 0.8 1,298 6 2.7 38

New Mexico

830.2 1.5 905 45 4.6 9

New York

9,613.2 1.5 1,445 3 1.0 51

North Carolina

4,458.9 1.6 1,013 26 5.1 6

North Dakota

422.3 1.5 1,057 20 4.7 8

Ohio

5,442.9 0.5 1,006 27 3.4 24

Oklahoma

1,632.3 1.5 932 39 4.1 11

Oregon

1,935.8 1.7 1,052 22 3.7 18

Pennsylvania

5,932.5 1.0 1,103 16 2.6 39

Rhode Island

487.2 0.8 1,085 18 2.6 39

South Carolina

2,119.6 2.8 893 46 1.9 47

South Dakota

428.4 1.2 885 49 3.4 24

Tennessee

3,039.8 1.8 1,030 23 3.0 35

Texas

12,531.7 2.5 1,148 13 3.5 23

Utah

1,511.5 3.2 972 33 3.8 15

Vermont

314.2 -0.4 954 37 3.2 30

Virginia

3,927.2 1.1 1,164 11 3.8 15

Washington

3,384.2 2.4 1,292 7 6.3 3

West Virginia

704.2 1.5 917 43 8.3 1

Wisconsin

2,892.3 0.6 989 30 4.0 14

Wyoming

272.1 1.8 978 32 4.4 10

Puerto Rico

896.4 0.8 576 (3) 0.9 (3)

Virgin Islands

34.5 0.5 925 (3) 2.3 (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: Wednesday, July 31, 2019