Employment and Average Annual Pay For Large Counties

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                                                For release:  10:00 A.M. EST
Media contact:                691-5902          Tuesday, December 19, 2000


   Of the 305 largest counties in the United States, 135 had rates of
employment growth above the national average of 2.3 percent in 1999, and 16
experienced declines in employment, according to preliminary data released
today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Average annual pay in 1999 was higher than the national average of $33,313
in 97 of the largest 305 U.S. counties.  (New Jersey data were not
available for the fourth quarter of 1999 and therefore are not shown in
this release.  Totals for the United States were calculated using estimated
data for New Jersey.)
   Employment and annual pay data by county are compiled from reports
submitted by employers subject to state and federal unemployment insurance
(UI) laws, covering 127.0 million full- and part-time workers.  Average
annual pay is computed by dividing total annual payrolls of employees
covered by UI programs by the average monthly number of these employees.
The attached tables and charts contain data for the nation and for the 305
counties with employment of 75,000 or more.  (Some areas defined as
counties in this release are not officially designated as counties.  In
addition, data for San Juan, Puerto Rico, are provided.  See Technical
   The 305 U.S. counties with 75,000 or more employees accounted for 70.2
percent of total U.S. covered employment, 77.5 percent of total wages, and
9.7 percent of the 3,140 U.S. counties.  (San Juan, P.R., is not included
in this grouping of U.S. counties, but estimated data for New Jersey are.)
The largest absolute gains in employment were recorded in the counties of
Los Angeles, Calif. (102,294), Maricopa, Ariz. (62,474), Dallas, Texas
(49,674), New York, N.Y. (47,548), and Clark, Nev. (47,520).  These five
counties accounted for 10.8 percent of total U.S. covered employment
growth.  (See table A.)
   Eight of the ten fastest-growing counties were found in the southern
and western states.  Clark County, Nev., had the largest over-the-year
percentage increase in employment (7.7 percent), followed by the counties
of Harrison, Miss. (7.1 percent), Placer, Calif., (7.0 percent), Riverside,
Calif., (6.4 percent), and Gwinnett, Ga., (6.2 percent).  (See table 1 and
chart 1.)
Table A.  Top 10 counties ranked by 1999 employment level, 1998-99
employment growth, and  1998-99 percentage growth in employment
                             |                           | 1998-99 Percentage
    1999 Employment level    | 1998-99 Employment growth |      growth in
                             |                           |      employment
Los Angeles, Calif. 4,049,200|Los Angeles, Calif. 102,294|Clark, Nev.      7.7
Cook, Ill.          2,666,571|Maricopa, Ariz.      62,474|Harrison, Miss.  7.1
New York, N.Y.      2,306,946|Dallas, Texas        49,674|Placer, Calif.   7.0
Harris, Texas       1,793,849|New York, N.Y.       47,548|Riverside,Calif. 6.4
Dallas, Texas       1,510,248|Clark, Nev.          47,520|Gwinnett, Ga.    6.2
Maricopa, Ariz.     1,494,061|Orange, Calif.       46,535|Cobb, Ga.        6.0
Orange, Calif.      1,345,268|San Diego, Calif.    43,415|Sangamon, Ill.   5.8
San Diego, Calif.   1,157,524|King, Wash.          36,702|Denton, Texas    5.6
King, Wash.         1,130,385|Riverside, Calif.    26,706|Minnehaha, S.D.  5.5
Santa Clara, Calif.   975,402|Sacramento, Calif.   26,121|Travis, Texas    5.3
U.S.              127,039,783|U.S.              2,856,234|U.S.             2.3

                                  - 2 -

   Employment declined in 16 counties from 1998 to 1999.  The largest
percentage declines in employment were in Lafayette County, La. (-2.7
percent), followed by the counties of Newport News, Va. (-2.1 percent),
Yakima, Wash. (-1.7 percent), Gaston, N.C. (-1.4 percent), and Snohomish,
Wash. (-0.9 percent).  The largest absolute declines in employment occurred
in Lafayette County, La. (-3,128), Newport News County, Va. (-1,976),
Snohomish County, Wash. (-1,843), St. Louis City, Mo. (-1,701), and Yakima
County, Wash. (-1,581).

Average Annual Pay

   Average annual pay in 1999 was higher than the national average of
$33,313 in 97 of the largest 305 U.S. counties.  New York County, N.Y.,
comprised entirely of the borough of Manhattan, continued to have the
highest level of average annual pay at $65,653, followed by the counties of
Santa Clara, Calif. ($61,110), Fairfield, Conn. ($56,361), Loudoun, Va.
($52,282), and San Mateo, Calif. ($51,447).  (See table B.)
   There were 193 counties with average annual pay below the national
average.  The lowest average annual pay (excluding San Juan, Puerto Rico)
was reported in Cameron County, Texas ($20,997), followed by the counties
of Hidalgo, Texas ($21,105), Horry, S.C. ($21,691), Yakima, Wash.
($22,400), and Tulare, Calif. ($22,703).  (See table 2.)
   (Fifteen New Jersey counties were not included in the rankings.)

   Santa Clara County, Calif., led the nation in growth in average annual
pay with an increase of 18.9 percent from 1998 to 1999.  San Mateo County,
Calif., was second with 13.4 percent growth, followed by the counties of
King, Wash. (11.5 percent), Arapahoe, Colo. (11.4 percent), and Barnstable,
Mass. (10.2 percent).  (See chart 2.)

   Only four counties showed declines in average annual pay.  Rock Island
County, Ill., had the largest percentage decrease in average annual pay in
1999, at -3.1 percent.  This was followed by the counties of Lafayette, La.
(-2.1 percent), Lake, Ind. (-0.3 percent), and Duval, Fla. (-0.2 percent).
Cameron County, Texas, had the smallest increase in average annual pay,
with a 0.1 percent year over-the-year change.

Table B.  Top 10 counties ranked by 1999 pay level, 1998-99 growth in pay, and
1998-99 percentage growth in pay
                                Average annual pay
                           |                          |  1998-99 Percentage
       1999 Pay level      |   1998-99 Growth in pay  |    growth in pay
New York, N.Y.      $65,653|Santa Clara, Calif. $9,713|Santa Clara, Calif.18.9
Santa Clara, Calif.  61,110|San Mateo, Calif.    6,075|San Mateo, Calif.  13.4
Fairfield, Conn.     56,361|King, Wash.          4,762|King, Wash.        11.5
Loudoun, Va.         52,282|Arapahoe, Colo.      4,377|Arapahoe, Colo.    11.4
San Mateo, Calif.    51,447|San Francisco, Calif.4,087|Barnstable, Mass.  10.2
San Francisco, Calif.51,440|Suffolk, Mass.       3,695|San Francisco,Calif.8.6
Suffolk, Mass.       50,757|Middlesex, Mass.     3,687|Middlesex, Mass.    8.6
Washington, D.C.     50,742|Fairfield, Conn.     3,261|Johnson, Kan.       8.5
Arlington, Va.       49,311|Contra Costa, Calif. 2,890|Placer, Calif.      7.9
Fairfax, Va.         46,718|New York, N.Y.       2,808|Suffolk, Mass.      7.9
U.S.                 33,313|U.S.                 1,368|U.S.                4.3
     |  1999 average annual pay and other data from the Covered| 
     |Employment and Wages program are available on the BLS    |
     |website at http://stats.bls.gov/cewnote.htm.             |

Table of Contents

Covered Employment Wages

Bureau of Labor Statistics
Last modified: Tuesday, December 19, 2000
URL: /news.release/eaapc.nr0.htm