From December 2013 to December 2014, employment increased in 319 of the 339 largest U.S. counties (counties with 75,000 or more jobs in 2013), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Weld, Colo., and Midland, Texas, had the largest percentage increases, with gains of 8.0 percent each over the year, compared with national job growth of 2.2 percent. Within Weld, the largest employment increase occurred in natural resources and mining, which gained 2,074 jobs over the year (19.6 percent). Within Midland, the largest employment increase also occurred in natural resources and mining, which gained 3,135 jobs over the year (14.9 percent). Atlantic, N.J., had the largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment among the largest counties in the U.S. with a loss of 5.0 percent. County employment and wage data are compiled under the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program, which produces detailed information on county employment and wages within 6 months after the end of each quarter.
The U.S. average weekly wage increased 3.5 percent over the year, growing to $1,035 in the fourth quarter of 2014. Benton, Ark., had the largest over-the-year percentage increase in average weekly wages with a gain of 9.9 percent. Within Benton, an average weekly wage gain of $209, or 16.2 percent, in professional and business services made the largest contribution to the county’s increase in average weekly wages. San Mateo, Calif., experienced the largest percentage decrease in average weekly wages with a loss of 20.4 percent over the year….