Wage report released on Texas counties, El Paso one of lowest paying
The Southwest Information Office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Thursday released, County Employment and Wages in Texas–Third Quarter 2013. The report shows national rankings of wage levels, wage growth, and employment changes for the 334 largest counties in the United States, including 26 large counties in Texas. The report also provides September 2013 employment and wage levels for the 228 smaller Texas counties (those with employment below 75,000). Regional Commissioner Stanley Suchman noted the following highlights:
• Employment rose in 25 of the 26 largest counties in Texas from September 2012 to September 2013, and growth rates in 3 Texas counties ranked in the top 10 nationwide. Fort Bend County’s 6.0% gain led the nation, and the Texas counties of Brazos (5.7%, 3rd) and Denton (4.9%, 8th) also shared in the top 10 ranking.
• Among the largest Texas counties, Harris registered the highest average weekly wage ($1,187 per week) followed by Midland ($1,148), Dallas ($1,115), Collin ($1,070), and Travis ($1,028), all well above the national average of $922 in the 3rd quarter 2013.
• In contrast, Texas was also home to 4 of the 11 lowest-paying large counties in the United States. These counties were located along the border with Mexico and included Cameron ($587, 333rd), Hidalgo ($595, 332nd), Webb ($636, 330th) and El Paso ($666, 324th). Other Texas counties with low national rankings included Brazos ($711, 314th), Lubbock ($736, 296th), and McLennan ($748, 284th).
• Fourteen of Texas’s 26 large counties experienced wage growth above the 1.9-percent national increase from the third quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of 2013. Gregg County’s 4.1% wage increase was the highest in the state and placed 15th in the national ranking.
• Among the 228 smaller Texas counties, 26 reported weekly wages above the $922 national average. When all counties in the state were considered, lower-paying counties were most evident in the agricultural areas of central Texas and the Texas Panhandle, as well as along the Texas-Mexico border.
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, as well as many other features; it can be accessed from http://beta.bls.gov/maps/cew/us .