On June 28th the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its County Employment and Wages Fourth Quarter 2011 report. The report states that the average weekly wage decreased by 1.7% to $955 from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the fourth quarter in 2011. This decrease marks only the fifth wage loss since the Census began tracking the figure in 1978. Olmsted, Minnesota experienced the greatest decrease in weekly wages amongst large counties, with pay dropping 21.3%. In Olmsted the education and health services industries faced the most severe losses with a total wage decline of $287.3 million (-29.1%).
The large counties (population of at least 75,000) leading the way in employment gains were Kern, California; Fort Bend, Texas; Weld, Colorad; Williamson, Tennessee; and Utah County, Utah. These counties had the highest percentage increase in employment, all of them seeing gains of at least 4.3%. On a grander scale, the U.S. added 1.8 million jobs since December 2010, putting the national employment at 131.3 million.