With the Obama administration taking an extended victory lap for what the Census Bureau reported – some 55 days before the election – that there was a 5.2% jump in real household incomes, the biggest annual jump on record (and a topic we will have more to say about shortly), Obama may want to put the champagne away for the time being, because according to the latest data from the BLS, which incidentally supercedes that from the Census, any reason for a “recovery” euphoria is now gone.
As the BLS reported overnight, average weekly wages for the nation decreased to $1,043, a 0.5 percent decrease, during the year ending in the first quarter of 2016. Among the 344 largest counties, 167 had over-the-year decreases in average weekly wages. McLean, Illinois (part of the Bloomington metro area), had the largest percentage wage decrease among the largest U.S. counties (?13.3 percent).
At the same tine, some 164 counties experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. Clayton, Georgia, (part of the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metro area), had the largest percentage increase in average weekly wages (15.5 percent), followed by King, Washington; San Mateo, California; Ventura, California; and Merrimack, New Hampshire.
The complete breakdown by county is here. These data are from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. To learn more, see “County Employment and Wages: First Quarter 2016” (HTML) (PDF). Data for 2016 are preliminary and subject to revision.
Somehow we doubt the media will get far less media attention than the politically timed Census Bureau report.