Nationally, employment increased in 293 of the 328 largest U.S. counties from March 2011 to March 2012. Gregg, Texas, posted the largest increase with a gain of 6.0 percent over the year. Benton, Wash., experienced the largest over-the-year decrease in employment with a loss of 3.9 percent.
Among the four largest counties in Utah, employment was highest in Salt Lake County (578,700) and lowest in Weber (89,800). Together, the four largest counties accounted for 79.2 percent of total employment within the state. Nationwide, the 328 large counties made up 71.1 percent of total U.S. employment.
All four of Utah’s large counties experienced wage growth that exceeded the 5.4-percent national gain from the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012; however, the counties’ average weekly wage levels were all below the $984 national average. Davis County recorded the fastest rate of wage growth (8.2 percent) while Salt Lake County had the highest average weekly wage ($911) among Utah’s large counties.
As mentioned, Davis County had the largest wage gain at 8.2 percent, placing it 29th in the national ranking. Wage growth in Utah County, at 6.5 percent, ranked 93rd. Salt Lake and Weber Counties followed closely with increases of 6.4 and 6.2 percent, respectively, and ranked 100th and 122nd.
Among the 328 largest counties in the U.S., 323 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages in the first quarter of 2012. Williamson, Texas, ranked first in average weekly wage growth with an increase of 27.4 percent. New York, N.Y., had the largest average weekly wage decrease with a loss of 6.3 percent.
At $911, Salt Lake County’s average weekly wage ranked 146th among the 328 largest counties in the United States in the first quarter of 2012. The three remaining large counties in Utah had average weekly wages that placed them in the bottom quartile of the national ranking—Davis ($763, 275th); Utah ($724, 303rd); and Weber ($682, 316th).
Nationally, weekly wages were higher than the average of $984 in 95 of the 328 largest U.S. counties. New York, N.Y., held the top position among the highest-paid large counties with an average weekly wage of $2,464. Santa Clara, Calif., was second at $1,957, followed by Fairfield, Conn. ($1,942), and Somerset, N.J. ($1,881). Among the 232 large counties with an average weekly wage below the U.S. average in the first quarter of 2012, Horry, S.C. ($559) reported the lowest wage.
Each of the 25 counties in Utah with employment below 75,000 had average weekly wages lower than the national average. Uintah County’s wage of $918 was the highest among the small counties, while Piutes’s wage was the lowest ($478).
When all 29 counties in Utah were considered, 14 reported average weekly wages under $600, 6 reported wages from $600 to $699, 4 posted wages from $700 to $799, and 5 had wages above $800. Most of the counties with average weekly wages above $600 were located in the northern half of the state while counties with wages under $600 were predominantly located in the southern half.