Cameron and Hidalgo, lowest paying counties in the U.S.
AUSTIN, TEXAS (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — The Southwest Information Office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released, County Employment and Wages in Texas–Third Quarter 2012. The report shows national rankings of wage levels, wage growth, and employment changes for the 328 largest counties in the United States, including 24 large counties in Texas. The report also provides September 2012 employment and wage levels for the 230 smaller Texas counties (those with employment below 75,000). Regional Commissioner Stanley Suchman noted the following highlights:
Employment rose in 22 of the 24 largest counties in Texas from September 2011 to September 2012 and growth in four Texas counties ranked in the top ten nationwide. Montgomery County’s 5.5% gain led the state with the 4th fastest growth in the nation. Also sharing top-ten national rankings were Fort Bend (4.3%, 6th), Travis (3.9%, 9th), and Harris (3.8%, 10th ); two other Texas counties ranked in the top 20: Collin (3.7%, 14th) and Brazos (3.6%, 17th).
Among the largest Texas counties, Harris registered the highest average weekly wage ($1,154 per week) followed by Dallas ($1,085) and Collin ($1,057), all well above the national average of $906 in the 3rd quarter 2012.
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 ($580, 327th), Hidalgo ($584, 326th), Webb ($637, 320th) and El Paso ($654, 318th). Other Texas counties with low national wage rankings included two which are home to large public universities, Lubbock ($716, 297th) and Brazos ($721, 294th).
A majority of Texas’s large counties experienced wage declines from the third quarter of 2011 to the third quarter of 2012. Average weekly wages fell in 19 of the 24 largest counties in the state, led by Galveston County’s 4.4% decrease. Nationally, more than 80% of all large counties registered wage declines during the period.
- Twenty-three of the 230 smaller Texas counties reported average weekly wages above the national average of $906. Lower-paying small counties were most evident in the agricultural areas of central Texas and the Texas Panhandle, as well as along the Texas-Mexico border.