County Employment and Wages Summary

Technical information:(202) 691-6567    USDL 08-1014 
                                        For release:  10:00 A.M. EDT 
Media contact:              691-5902    Thursday, July 24, 2008 


  In December 2007, Fort Bend County, Texas, had the largest over-
the-year percentage increase in employment among the largest counties 
in the U.S., according to preliminary data released today by the 
Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. Fort Bend 
County, which contains a portion of southwest Houston, experienced an 
over-the-year employment gain of 7.4 percent, compared with national 
job growth of 0.8 percent. Pulaski County, Ark., which includes 
Little Rock, had the largest over-the-year gain in average weekly 
wages in the fourth quarter of 2007, with an increase of 26.2 percent 
due to gains in the information supersector. The U.S. average weekly 
wage rose by 4.2 percent over the same time span. 
  Of the 328 largest counties in the United States, as measured by 
2006 annual average employment, 126 had over-the-year percentage 
growth in employment above the national average (0.8 percent) in 
December 2007; 182 large counties experienced changes below the 
national average. The percent change in average weekly wages was 
higher than the national average (4.2 percent) in 128 of the largest 
U.S. counties, but was below the national average in 186 counties. 

Table A.  Top 10 large counties ranked by December 2007 employment, December 2006-07 employment growth,  
and December 2006-07 percent growth in employment  

                                       Employment in large counties
      December 2007 employment    |       Growth in employment,      |   Percent growth in employment, 
            (thousands)           |          December 2006-07        |          December 2006-07
                                  |            (thousands)           |                  
                                  |                                  |                                  
 United States           137,027.3| United States             1,089.1| United States                 0.8
                                  |                                  |                                  
 Los Angeles, Calif.       4,293.4| Harris, Texas                73.2| Fort Bend, Texas              7.4
 Cook, Ill.                2,556.2| New York, N.Y.               52.0| Monterey, Calif.              5.2
 New York, N.Y.            2,419.9| King, Wash.                  35.2| Williamson, Tenn.             4.5
 Harris, Texas             2,061.4| Los Angeles, Calif.          32.9| Madison, Ala.                 4.0
 Maricopa, Ariz.           1,848.2| Dallas, Texas                31.3| San Francisco, Calif.         4.0
 Orange, Calif.            1,517.7| San Francisco, Calif.        21.8| Wake, N.C.                    3.9
 Dallas, Texas             1,504.8| Bexar, Texas                 18.8| Hidalgo, Texas                3.9
 San Diego, Calif.         1,340.3| Tarrant, Texas               17.3| Harris, Texas                 3.7
 King, Wash.               1,194.1| Wake, N.C.                   17.1| Tulare, Calif.                3.6
 Miami-Dade, Fla.          1,032.1| Travis, Texas                16.4| Denton, Texas                 3.6
                                  |                                  | Arlington, Va.                3.6
                                  |                                  |                                  
                                  |                                  |                                  

  The employment and 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 reports 
submitted by every employer subject to unemployment insurance (UI) 
laws. The 9.1 million employer reports cover 137.0 million full- and 
part-time workers. The attached tables contain data for the nation 
and for the 328 U.S. counties with annual average employment levels 
of 75,000 or more in 2006. December 2007 employment and 2007 fourth-
quarter average weekly wages for all states are provided in table 4 
of this release. Final data for all states, metropolitan statistical 
areas, counties, and the nation through the fourth quarter of 2006 
are available on the BLS Web site at 
Preliminary data for first, second, and third quarter 2007 also are 
available on the BLS Web site. Updated data for first, second, and 
third quarter 2007 and preliminary data for fourth quarter 2007 will 
be available later in July on the BLS Web site. 

Large County Employment 

  In December 2007, national employment, as measured by the QCEW 
program, was 137.0 million, up by 0.8 percent from December 2006. The 
328 U.S. counties with 75,000 or more employees accounted for 71.2 
percent of total U.S. employment and 77.2 percent of total wages. 
These 328 counties had a net job gain of 666,400 over the year, 
accounting for 61.2 percent of the overall U.S. employment increase. 
Employment rose in 201 of the large counties from December 2006 to 
December 2007. Fort Bend County, Texas, had the largest over-the-year 
percentage increase in employment (7.4 percent). Monterey, Calif., 
had the next largest increase, 5.2 percent, followed by the counties 
of Williamson, Tenn. (4.5 percent), and Madison, Ala., and San 
Francisco, Calif. (4.0 percent each).  

  Employment declined in 98 counties from December 2006 to December 
2007. The largest percentage decline in employment was in Trumbull 
County, Ohio (-5.7 percent). Lee, Fla., had the next largest 
employment decline (-5.5 percent), followed by the counties of 
Collier, Fla. (-5.1 percent), Sarasota, Fla. (-4.1 percent), and 
Manatee, Fla., and Saginaw, Mich. (-3.7 percent each). 

  The largest gains in the level of employment from December 2006 to 
December 2007 were recorded in the counties of Harris, Texas 
(73,200), New York, N.Y. (52,000), King, Wash. (35,200), Los Angeles, 
Calif. (32,900), and Dallas, Texas (31,300). (See table A.) The 
largest decline in employment levels occurred in Orange, Calif. 
(-25,300), followed by the counties of Wayne, Mich. (-19,900), Lee, 
Fla. (-12,700), Pinellas, Fla. (-11,500), and Oakland, Mich.(-9,100). 

Table B.  Top 10 large counties ranked by fourth quarter 2007 average weekly wages, fourth quarter 2006-07 
growth in average weekly wages, and fourth quarter 2006-07 percent growth in average weekly wages 

                                  Average weekly wage in large counties
        Average weekly wage,      |     Growth in average weekly     |     Percent growth in average 
        fourth quarter 2007       |    wage, fourth quarter 2006-07  |        weekly wage, fourth
                                  |                                  |          quarter 2006-07
                                  |                                  |                                  
 United States                $898| United States                 $36| United States                 4.2
                                  |                                  |                                  
 New York, N.Y.             $1,862| Pulaski, Ark.                $205| Pulaski, Ark.                26.2
 Santa Clara, Calif.         1,700| Lake, Ill.                    171| Williamson, Texas            16.5
 Fairfield, Conn.            1,575| Williamson, Texas             134| Lake, Ill.                   15.6
 Suffolk, Mass.              1,546| Santa Clara, Calif.           126| Douglas, Colo.               12.6
 San Francisco, Calif.       1,529| Somerset, N.J.                123| Westmoreland, Pa.             9.8
 San Mateo, Calif.           1,513| San Mateo, Calif.             112| Olmsted, Minn.                9.4
 Washington, D.C.            1,506| Douglas, Colo.                110| Somerset, N.J.                9.2
 Somerset, N.J.              1,461| Middlesex, Mass.               94| Williamson, Tenn.             8.2
 Arlington, Va.              1,458| Washington, D.C.               82| San Mateo, Calif.             8.0
 Fairfax, Va.                1,358| Olmsted, Minn.                 79| Santa Clara, Calif.           8.0
                                  |                                  |                                  
                                  |                                  |                                  

Large County Average Weekly Wages 

  The national average weekly wage in the fourth quarter of 2007 was 
$898. Average weekly wages were higher than the national average in 
106 of the largest 328 U.S. counties. New York, N.Y., held the top 
position among the highest-paid large counties with an average weekly 
wage of $1,862. Santa Clara, Calif., was second with an average 
weekly wage of $1,700, followed by Fairfield, Conn. ($1,575), 
Suffolk, Mass. ($1,546), and San Francisco, Calif. ($1,529). (See 
table B.) 

  There were 222 counties with an average weekly wage below the 
national average in the fourth quarter of 2007. The lowest average 
weekly wage was reported in Cameron County, Texas ($555), followed by 
the counties of Hidalgo, Texas ($562), Horry, S.C. ($582), Webb, 
Texas ($590), and Yakima, Wash. ($596). (See table 1.) 

  Over the year, the national average weekly wage rose by 4.2 
percent. Among the largest counties, Pulaski County, Ark., led the 
nation in growth in average weekly wages, with an increase of 26.2 
percent from the fourth quarter of 2006. Williamson, Texas, was 
second with growth of 16.5 percent, followed by the counties of Lake, 

Ill. (15.6 percent), Douglas, Colo. (12.6 percent), and Westmoreland, 
Pa. (9.8 percent). 

  Eight large counties experienced over-the-year declines in average 
weekly wages. Among the five largest decreases in wages, Rockingham, 
N.H., had the greatest decline (-12.4 percent), followed by the 
counties of Trumbull, Ohio (-7.2 percent), Sedgwick, Kan. (-4.1 
percent), Lake, Fla. (-3.9 percent), and Montgomery, Ohio  (-2.4 

Ten Largest U.S. Counties 

  Six of the 10 largest counties (based on 2006 annual average 
employment levels) experienced over-the-year percent increases in 
employment in December 2007. Harris, Texas, experienced the largest 
percent gain in employment among the 10 largest counties with a 3.7 
percent increase. Within Harris County, the largest gains in 
employment were in construction (6.9 percent) and other services (4.7 
percent). King, Wash., had the next largest increase in employment, 
3.0 percent, followed by New York, N.Y. (2.2 percent). Orange, 
Calif., experienced the largest decline in employment among the 10 
largest counties with a 1.6 percent decrease. Within Orange County, 
four industry groups experienced employment declines, with financial 
activities experiencing the largest drop, -12.4 percent. Maricopa, 
Ariz., and Cook, Ill., had the next largest decline in employment
(-0.1 percent each). (See table 2.) 

  Each of the 10 largest U.S. counties saw an over-the-year increase 
in average weekly wages. Harris, Texas, had the fastest growth in 
wages among the 10 largest counties, with a gain of 5.9 percent. 
Within Harris County, average weekly wages increased the most in the 
natural resources and mining industry (14.2 percent), followed by the 
manufacturing industry (12.5 percent). Cook, Ill., was second in wage 
growth with a gain of 4.8 percent, followed by San Diego, Calif. (4.4 
percent). The smallest wage gain among the 10 largest counties 
occurred in Miami-Dade, Fla. (0.6 percent), followed by Maricopa, 
Ariz. (2.0 percent), and Orange, Calif. (2.8 percent). 

Largest County by State 

  Table 3 shows December 2007 employment and the 2007 fourth quarter 
average weekly wage in the largest county in each state, which is 
based on 2006 annual average employment levels. (This table includes 
two counties--Yellowstone, Mont., and Laramie, Wyo.--that had 
employment levels below 75,000 in 2006.) The employment levels in the 
counties in table 3 in December 2007 ranged from approximately 4.29 
million in Los Angeles County, Calif., to 43,500 in Laramie County, 
Wyo. The highest average weekly wage of these counties was in New 
York, N.Y. ($1,862), while the lowest average weekly wage was in 
Yellowstone, Mont. ($729). 

For More Information 

  For additional information about the quarterly employment and wages 
data, please read the Technical Note or visit the QCEW Web site at Additional information about the QCEW data 
also 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 


  The County Employment and Wages release for first quarter 2008 is 
scheduled to be released on Friday, October 17, 2008. 


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Last Modified Date: July 24, 2008