6 of Top 10 Counties for Highest Weekly Wages Are in S.F. and D.C. Areas

By Terence P. Jeffrey | June 8, 2016 | 3:04 PM EDT

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

(CNSNews.com) - When the 342 counties in the United States that have 75,000 jobs or more are ranked by average weekly wage, the Top 10 includes three counties in the San Francisco Bay Area, three in the Washington, D.C. area and three in the New York City area, according to the latest County Employment and Wages report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Suffolk County, Mass., which includes Boston, is also in the top ten.

Two counties at the heart of Silicon Valley--Santa Clara and San Mateo—ranked No. 1 and No. 3 respectively.

They bracketed New York County (Manhattan), which ranked No. 2.

In No. 1 Santa Clara County, the average weekly wage in the fourth quarter of 2015 was $2,335, according to the report. In No. 2 New York, it was $2,235; and in No. 3 San Mateo, it was $2,095.

Nationally, the BLS reported, the average weekly wage was $1,082 in the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of 4.4 percent for the year.

Santa Clara not only ranked as the No. 1 county for its average weekly wage but also No. 1 for the dollar-amount increase ($198) in its average weekly wage from the fourth quarter of 2014 to the fourth quarter of 2015.

The City and County of San Francisco ranked fourth in the nation for average weekly wage in the fourth quarter of 2015 ($1,961)—but only third in the Bay Area after Santa Clara and San Mateo.

Suffolk County, Mass., ranked fifth ($1,943)

Washington, D.C. itself—which the report treats as a county—ranked sixth ($1,756).

Fairfield County, Conn., ranked seventh ($1,735)

Arlington County, Va.--just across the Potomac River from D.C.--ranked eighth ($1,686)

Fairfax County, Va.—another Northern Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C.--ranked ninth ($1,618).

Morris County, N.J., ranked tenth ($1,601)

The new BLS report on County Employment and Wages, which is released quarterly (six months after the end of the quarter on which it reports), deals with “large counties” which “are defined as having employment levels of 75,000 or greater.”

“In December 2015, the 342 U.S. counties with 75,000 or more jobs accounted for 72.5 percent of total U.S. employment and 77.8 percent of total wages,” said the report.

“The data are derived from summaries of employment and total pay of workers covered by state and federal unemployment insurance (UI) legislation and provided by State Workforce Agencies (SWAs),” says BLS. “The summaries are a result of the administration of state unemployment insurance programs that require most employers to pay quarterly taxes based on the employment and wages of workers covered by UI.”

Some workers are not included in the survey. Among these are “self-employed workers, most agricultural workers on  small farms, all members of the Armed Forces, elected officials in most states, most employees of  railroads, some domestic workers, most student workers at schools, and employees of certain small  nonprofit organizations.”

“Average weekly wage values are calculated by dividing quarterly total wages by the average of the three monthly employment levels (all employees, as described above) and dividing the result by 13, for the 13 weeks in the quarter,” says BLS.

“Included in the quarterly wage data are non-wage cash payments such as bonuses, the cash value of meals and lodging when supplied, tips and other gratuities, and, in some states, employer contributions to certain deferred compensation plans such as 401(k) plans and stock options.”


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