The number of jobs in Douglas County grew by 5.9 percent in the fiscal year ending in September 2013, second only to Fort Bend County in Texas, according to a study of populous counties reported by the U.S. Department of Labor. The county ranked No. 2 out of 334 large counties with 75,000 or more jobs across the nation. Fort Bend’s job numbers grew by 6 percent between September 2012 and September 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The national average increase came in at 1.7 percent, the bureau reported on March 19.
Douglas County’s increase resulted in the county having 104,100 jobs in September 2013, the BLS reported. “Douglas County invests in and fosters the foundations that allow businesses to succeed: an exceptional transportation infrastructure, public safety and a business-friendly regulatory environment,” Douglas County Commissioner Jill Repella said in a news release.
At a March 24 land use meeting, Repella said the county’s incentives are “paying off” and she expects the statistics to climb next year. “There is a lot of stuff in the pipeline that’s not included (in the report),” Repella said. “Who knows? Maybe next year, we’ll be No. 1.”
Seven other Colorado counties made the top 100 in the job growth rate: Weld County came in seventh with a 5 percent growth rate; Adams County ranked 16th with 4.3 percent; Arapahoe was 25th with 3.7 percent; Denver notched 28th place with 3.6 percent; Boulder was 54th with 3.1 percent; Larimer ranked 85th with 2.5 percent; and El Paso was 97th with 2.3 percent. Jefferson County was in 120th place with a growth rate of 2 percent.
Job numbers declined in 44 of the counties studied over the one-year period, according to the BLS report. Average weekly wages increased by 1.9 percent nationwide to $922. Douglas County was among those with a decline in average wages, in a field where the worst performance was in Pinellas County, Fla., where wages fell 4.3 percent. The average weekly wage in Douglas county declined by 2.5 percent over the one-year period, dropping to $889, below the nationwide average of $922.
The decrease in Douglas County’s average wage was “due to changes in the Management of Companies and Enterprises industry. The wages in this industry fluctuate wildly each quarter,” Nancy Gedeon, an economic and demographic analyst for the county, wrote in an email. Wages in that industry increased 362 percent from 2011 to 2012, which caused a 48 percent increase in the average wages of all industries in the county, she said. “My guess is that these business executives receive annual bonuses,” Gedeon said in an email when asked why the wages for that industry fluctuate so wildly. “Also, the average wage for this industry is at least (four) times higher than the average for all industries combined.” “When the Management of Companies and Enterprises industry is removed from the total, wages in Douglas County increased about 2 percent from the third quarter 2012 to the third quarter 2013,” Gedeon wrote.
According to a recent report from the Colorado Department of labor, accounting for data through the end of February, Douglas County’s unemployment average checks in at 5.3 percent, lower than the state average of 6.1 percent and national average of 6.7 percent.
Federal report looks at 334 populous counties
Hannah Garcia, Colorado Community Media – Posted 3/28/14