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News Release Information

20-614-SAN
Tuesday, April 14, 2020

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Technical information:
Media contact:
  • (415) 625-2270

County Employment and Wages in Washington – Third Quarter 2019

Employment increased in Washington’s 10 large counties from September 2018 to September 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (Large counties are those with annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2018.) Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Richard Holden noted that employment increases ranged from 3.5 percent in Benton County to 0.6 percent in Whatcom County. (See table 1.)

Nationally, employment increased 1.1 percent over the year with 283 of the 355 largest U.S. counties reporting increases. New Hanover, N.C, had the largest percentage increase in the country, up 5.8 percent over the year. Bay, FL, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment with a loss of 5.9 percent.

Among the 10 largest counties in Washington, employment was highest in King County (1,445,300) in September 2019. Pierce and Snohomish Counties had employment levels of 320,300 and 293,300, respectively. Together, the 10 largest Washington counties accounted for 85.4 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 355 largest counties made up 73.4 percent of total U.S. employment.

All 10 large Washington counties reported average weekly wage gains from the third quarter of 2018 to the third quarter of 2019, with the fastest rates of increase in Thurston and Pierce counties, up 5.5 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively. King County had the highest average weekly wage ($1,814), followed by Snohomish County ($1,167) and Benton County ($1,099). Nationally, the average weekly wage advanced 3.6 percent over the year to $1,093 in the third quarter of 2019.

Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for the 29 counties in Washington with employment below 75,000. All of these smaller counties had average weekly wages below the national average in the third quarter of 2019. (See table 2.)

Large county wage changes

Thurston County’s 5.5-percent wage gain placed 18th among the nation’s 355 large counties. Two other Washington counties ranked in the top 50 nationwide: Pierce (5.3 percent, 22nd) and Clark (4.8 percent, 47th).

Nationally, 350 of the 355 largest counties had over-the-year increases. Boulder, CO, had the largest percentage wage increase (+18.4 percent). The remaining five large counties registered wage declines during the period. Linn, IA, had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease (-2.6 percent).

Large county average weekly wages

Average weekly wages in three of Washington’s large counties placed in the top third of the national ranking. King County ($1,814, 6th), Snohomish County ($1,167, 68th), and Benton County ($1,099, 92nd) had weekly wages that exceeded the national average in the third quarter of 2019. Yakima County ($790, 339th) had the lowest average weekly wages in Washington and was the only county ranked in the bottom third of the largest U.S. counties.

Nationally, 98 large counties reported average weekly wages above the U.S. average in the third quarter of 2019. Santa Clara, CA, had the highest weekly wage at $2,447. Average weekly wages were below the national average in 257 counties. At $659 a week Cameron, TX, had the lowest average weekly wage.

Average weekly wages in Washington’s smaller counties

All 29 counties in Washington with employment below 75,000 had average weekly wages lower than the national average of $1,093. Among these counties, Pend Oreille County had the highest average weekly wage at $1,044. Okanogan County reported the lowest weekly wage among all counties in the state, averaging $684 in the third quarter of 2019.

When all 39 counties in Washington were considered, only Okanogan County had wages below $700. Eleven counties had average weekly wages ranging from $700 to $799, 11 had wages from $800 to $899, 7 had wages from $900 to $999, and 9 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 2018 edition of this publication, which was published in September 2019, contains selected data produced by Business Employment Dynamics (BED) on job gains and losses, as well as selected data from the first quarter 2019 version of this news release. Tables and additional content from the 2018 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online are now available online at www.bls.gov/cew/publications/employment-and-wages-annual-averages/2018/home.htm. The 2019 edition of Employment and Wages Annual Averages Online will be available in September 2020.

The County Employment and Wages release for fourth quarter 2019 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. The County Employment and Wages full data update for fourth quarter 2019 is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.


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, then divide the result. 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 10 largest counties in Washington, third quarter 2019
Area Employment Average weekly wage (1)
September 2019 (thousands) Percent change, September 2018-19 (2) National ranking by percent change (3) Average weekly wage National ranking by level (3) Percent change, third quarter 2018-19 (2) National ranking by percent change (3)

United States (4)

148,556.5 1.1 -- $1,093 -- 3.6 --

Washington

3,489.8 2.1 -- 1,335 3 4.3 5

Benton

94.3 3.5 10 1,099 92 2.4 276

Clark

165.5 1.7 93 1,060 122 4.8 47

King

1,445.3 3.1 21 1,814 6 3.6 157

Kitsap

92.4 2.1 64 1,014 154 3.4 182

Pierce

320.3 1.7 93 1,039 141 5.3 22

Snohomish

293.3 2.0 69 1,167 68 3.8 132

Spokane

231.0 1.8 84 953 205 4.4 78

Thurston

119.4 1.2 142 1,051 130 5.5 18

Whatcom

91.5 0.6 217 932 232 3.8 132

Yakima

127.1 1.4 122 790 339 3.1 212

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 Washington, third quarter 2019
Area Employment September 2019 Average Weekly Wage(1)

United States(2)

148,556,525 $1,093

Washington

3,489,774 1,335

Adams

10,102 740

Asotin

6,533 777

Benton

94,284 1,099

Chelan

46,530 815

Clallam

23,723 826

Clark

165,478 1,060

Columbia

1,594 954

Cowlitz

39,573 1,011

Douglas

13,336 739

Ferry

1,676 827

Franklin

36,733 839

Garfield

688 995

Grant

42,563 858

Grays Harbor

23,321 855

Island

17,063 815

Jefferson

9,479 794

King

1,445,252 1,814

Kitsap

92,355 1,014

Kittitas

15,869 835

Klickitat

7,689 946

Lewis

26,903 865

Lincoln

2,807 794

Mason

14,353 847

Okanogan

18,226 684

Pacific

6,721 739

Pend Oreille

3,001 1,044

Pierce

320,276 1,039

San Juan

6,611 734

Skagit

53,301 996

Skamania

2,226 745

Snohomish

293,292 1,167

Spokane

231,043 953

Stevens

11,006 798

Thurston

119,433 1,051

Wahkiakum

752 724

Walla Walla

28,890 888

Whatcom

91,484 932

Whitman

18,990 967

Yakima

127,063 790

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, third quarter 2019
State Employment Average weekly wage (1)
September 2019 (thousands) Percent change, September 2018-19 Average weekly wage National ranking by level Percent change, third quarter 2018-19 National ranking by percent change

United States (2)

148,556.5 1.1 $1,093 -- 3.6 --

Alabama

1,989.5 1.1 919 36 3.8 18

Alaska

338.0 1.2 1,105 14 3.7 21

Arizona

2,913.4 2.6 1,018 22 4.5 4

Arkansas

1,222.8 0.0 841 49 3.8 18

California

17,713.1 1.4 1,309 5 3.8 18

Colorado

2,749.0 2.4 1,170 8 6.1 1

Connecticut

1,676.6 -0.3 1,236 6 2.3 50

Delaware

453.2 1.1 1,078 15 3.3 32

District of Columbia

776.4 0.6 1,851 1 2.5 49

Florida

8,838.2 1.7 955 29 3.4 27

Georgia

4,509.7 1.4 1,026 20 3.4 27

Hawaii

654.1 -0.3 1,012 23 3.9 15

Idaho

765.2 2.9 838 50 4.1 10

Illinois

6,023.1 0.0 1,125 10 3.6 23

Indiana

3,083.5 0.3 914 37 3.5 26

Iowa

1,556.9 0.1 914 37 3.0 39

Kansas

1,395.9 0.4 893 43 2.9 43

Kentucky

1,910.8 0.7 884 45 3.4 27

Louisiana

1,913.5 -0.3 923 35 2.6 47

Maine

632.6 0.9 887 44 4.2 7

Maryland

2,696.9 0.2 1,169 9 3.6 23

Massachusetts

3,642.5 0.9 1,359 2 4.2 7

Michigan

4,375.8 0.2 1,021 21 3.0 39

Minnesota

2,917.8 0.4 1,107 13 3.0 39

Mississippi

1,135.8 0.1 768 51 2.7 46

Missouri

2,826.5 0.6 942 31 3.9 15

Montana

478.9 1.2 848 48 3.9 15

Nebraska

984.7 0.3 908 39 4.0 13

Nevada

1,412.2 2.1 973 26 4.1 10

New Hampshire

667.9 0.8 1,075 16 3.4 27

New Jersey

4,104.0 0.9 1,217 7 3.0 39

New Mexico

842.1 1.7 899 40 5.1 2

New York

9,575.4 1.1 1,314 4 3.3 32

North Carolina

4,501.3 2.2 972 27 3.6 23

North Dakota

428.4 0.9 1,028 19 3.3 32

Ohio

5,443.3 0.3 976 25 3.1 37

Oklahoma

1,628.8 0.5 897 41 2.6 47

Oregon

1,970.7 1.4 1,037 18 3.2 35

Pennsylvania

5,947.9 0.8 1,064 17 3.2 35

Rhode Island

491.3 0.6 991 24 2.8 44

South Carolina

2,132.4 2.2 866 46 3.7 21

South Dakota

433.4 0.4 855 47 3.4 27

Tennessee

3,060.8 1.9 966 28 2.8 44

Texas

12,603.2 2.1 1,109 12 4.1 10

Utah

1,535.2 2.8 954 30 4.8 3

Vermont

311.0 0.0 927 34 4.3 5

Virginia

3,931.4 1.0 1,125 10 4.0 13

Washington

3,489.8 2.1 1,335 3 4.3 5

West Virginia

694.4 -1.8 897 41 0.3 51

Wisconsin

2,893.8 0.1 929 33 3.1 37

Wyoming

283.1 1.5 942 31 4.2 7

Puerto Rico

878.9 1.9 528 (3) -0.8 (3)

Virgin Islands

37.8 9.6 1,012 (3) 12.8 (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: Tuesday, April 14, 2020