There’s a not-surprising new number from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics given the coronavirus pandemic: Employment in the 357 largest U.S. counties decreased from June 2019 to June 2020. By June, national employment had decreased 9.4% to 135.1 million. Of all those counties, New Jersey’s Atlantic County had the largest year-over-year employment decrease, 34.2%.
Not surprisingly, the largest employment decrease in the county was in the leisure and hospitality sector, which shed 33,336 jobs over the year. The ten counties in the U.S. with the largest job losses included Maui and Kalawao, Hawaii; Barnstable, Massachusetts; Midland, Texas; Clayton, Georgia; Orleans, Louisiana; Orange, Florida; Ector, Texas, New London Connecticut and Clark, Nevada.
At the same time, Atlantic County had the largest 2020 second-quarter wage gain (22.5%), with an average weekly increase of $143 (+24.2%) in leisure and hospitality the biggest contributor. Indeed, average weekly wages increased in 352 of the 357 counties. In the second quarter of 2020, average weekly wages nationally were $1,188, an 8.6% annual increase. A press release from BLS notes that the wage increases “largely reflect substantial employment loss among lower-paid industries.”
Other New Jersey counties listed were Mercer, which ranked 194th with a 9.6% drop in employment; Gloucester, (251st, 11.3% decrease in employment); Middlesex (265th, 12% decrease); Burlington (285th, 12.7% decrease); Somerset, (296th, 13% decrease); Union and Camden counties (tied 304th, 13.5% decrease); Morris (309th, 13.6% decrease); Hudson (326th, 15% decrease) Passaic (329th, 15.1% decrease); Essex (330th, 15.3% decrease); Ocean (337th, 16.9% decrease); Bergen (338th, 17% decrease); Monmouth (345th, 18.1% decrease).