The Southwest Office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, County Employment and Wages in Arkansas-Fourth Quarter 2012. This report shows employment and wage levels for all 75 Arkansas counties with special emphasis given to the 3 largest counties. The report also provides national rankings of wage levels, wage growth, and employment changes for the 328 largest counties across the country. Regional Commissioner Stanley Suchman noted the following highlights:
· From December 2011 to December 2012, employment increased in all three of the large Arkansas counties (Benton, Pulaski, and Washington), as it did in 287 of the 328 largest U.S. counties. Washington County had the fastest increase, up 3.7 percent and ranked 23rd among the 328 large counties nationwide. Washington was followed by Benton (1.9 percent, ranked 134th) and Pulaski (1.0 percent, ranked 213th); nationally, employment rose 1.9 percent.
· The 6.9-percent wage gain in Pulaski County from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012 was above the national average of 4.7 percent, ranking 24th among the nation’s largest counties. Wages rose at less than the national pace in both Benton (3.9 percent, ranked 119th) and Washington (0.8 percent, 294th).
· Average weekly wages in the three large Arkansas counties were below the national average of $1,000 per week, but wage levels in two counties ranked near the middle of the 328 largest counties. Pulaski County's average weekly wage of $927 ranked 150th and Benton County at $900 ranked 169th. The Washington County average weekly wage of $837 ranked 240th.
· All 72 smaller counties in Arkansas – those with employment below 75,000 – had average weekly wages below the national average ($1,000). Among these counties, Calhoun ($915) posted the highest wages, while Newton reported the lowest average weekly wage in the state ($460) in the fourth quarter of 2012.
This information comes from the Bureau's Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). The QCEW program contains extensive data on both employment and wages by detailed industry for all states and counties. Data on weekly wages for all counties in the U.S. can be accessed from http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/outside.jsp?survey=en. Additionally, BLS has an interactive online mapping utility to display information similar to that shown above, as well as many other features; it can be accessed from http://beta.bls.gov/maps/cew/us .