National

Over the Year, 1st Quarter 2011 Wages Up 18.9% in Peoria, Ill.; National Wages Up 5.2%


Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—September 29, 2011.  From March 2010 to March 2011, employment increased in 256 of the 322 largest U.S. counties, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Elkhart, Ind., posted the largest percentage increase, with a gain of 6.2 percent over the year, compared with national job growth of 1.3 percent. Within Elkhart, the largest employment increase occurred in manufacturing, which gained 5,125 jobs over the year (12.4 percent). Sacramento, Calif., experienced the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment among the largest counties in the U.S. with a loss of 1.6 percent. 

The U.S. average weekly wage increased over the year by 5.2 percent to $935 in the first quarter of 2011. Among the large counties in the U.S., Peoria, Ill., had the largest over-the-year increase in average weekly wages in the first quarter of 2011 with a gain of 18.9 percent. Within Peoria, professional and business services had the largest impact on the county’s over-the-year increase in average weekly wages. Williamson, Texas, experienced the largest decline in average weekly wages with a loss of 3.8 percent over the year. County employment and wage data are compiled under the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program.

See Table A.  Large counties ranked by March 2011 employment, March 2010-11 employment increase, and March 2010-11 percent increase in employment 

Large County Employment

In March 2011, national employment, as measured by the QCEW program, was 127.9 million, up by 1.3 percent or 1.6 million workers, from March 2010. The 322 U.S. counties with 75,000 or more employees accounted for 70.7 percent of total U.S. employment and 77.4 percent of total wages. These 322 counties had a net job growth of 1,054,300 over the year, accounting for 65.0 percent of the overall U.S. employment increase.

Elkhart, Ind., had the largest percentage increase in employment among the largest U.S. counties (6.2 percent). The five counties with the largest increases in employment level were Harris, Texas; New York, N.Y.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Orange, Calif.; and Dallas, Texas. These counties had a combined over-the-year gain of 178,700, or 11.0 percent of the employment increase for the U.S.  

Employment declined in 53 of the large counties from March 2010 to March 2011. Sacramento, Calif., had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment (-1.6 percent). Within Sacramento, construction was the largest contributor to the decrease in employment with a loss of 9.5 percent. Montgomery, Ala., and Atlantic, N.J., tied for the second largest employment decrease, followed by San Joaquin, Calif., Marion, Fla., and Champaign, Ill., which tied for the third largest decline. (See table 1.)

See Table B.  Large counties ranked by first quarter 2011 average weekly wages, first quarter 2010-11 increase in average weekly wages, and first quarter 2010-11 percent increase in average weekly wages

Large County Average Weekly Wages

Average weekly wages for the nation increased by 5.2 percent over the year in the first quarter of 2011. Among the 322 largest counties, 315 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Peoria, Ill., had the largest wage gain among the largest U.S. counties (18.9 percent). 

Of the 322 largest counties, 3 experienced declines in average weekly wages. Williamson, Texas, had the largest wage decline with a loss of 3.8 percent over the year. Trade, transportation, and utilities contributed significantly to the county’s overall average weekly wage loss. Hudson, N.J., had the second largest percent decline in average weekly wages among the counties, followed by Durham, N.C. (See table 1.)

 Ten Largest U.S. Counties

 All of the 10 largest counties experienced over-the-year percent increases in employment in March 2011. Harris, Texas, experienced the largest gain in employment (2.3 percent). Within Harris, professional and business services had the largest over-the-year increase among all private industry groups with a gain of 16,522 workers (5.3 percent). Los Angeles, Calif., and Cook, Ill., both had the smallest percent increase in employment. (See table 2.)

All of the 10 largest U.S. counties had an over-the-year increase in average weekly wages. New York, N.Y., experienced the largest increase in average weekly wages with a gain of 9.2 percent. Within New York, the largest impact on the county’s average weekly wage growth occurred in financial activities, largely due to significant total wage gains over the year ($5,287.0 million or 15.4 percent). Orange, Calif., had the smallest average weekly wage increase.

For More Information

The tables and charts included in this release contain data for the nation and for the 322 U.S. counties with annual average employment levels of 75,000 or more in 2010. March 2011 employment and 2011 first quarter average weekly wages for all states are provided in table 3 of this release.

The employment and wage data by county are compiled under the QCEW program, also known as the ES-202 program. The data are derived from reports submitted by every employer subject to unemployment insurance (UI) laws. The 9.1 million employer reports cover 127.9 million full- and part-time workers. For additional information about the quarterly employment and wages data, please read the Technical Note.

Data for the first quarter of 2011 will be available later at http://www.bls.gov/cew/. Additional information about the QCEW data may be obtained by calling (202) 691-6567.

Several BLS regional offices are issuing QCEW news releases targeted to local data users. For links to these releases, see http://www.bls.gov/cew/cewregional.htm.

To view the tables referenced above, see: www.bls.gov/news.release/cewqtr.nr0.htm

Source: bls.gov


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