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Earnings Per Employee

Description: 

Earnings per employee is the most comprehensive proxy measure for productivity for counties. (No true measure of productivity is available for states or substate areas.) Earnings per employee is calculated by dividing earnings by total employment.

Earnings account for the majority of personal income; the category includes wage and salary disbursements, proprietors’ income, and supplements to wages and salaries (employer contributions for employee pensions and insurance). While earnings are estimated quarterly by state, only annual figures are available by county.

Total employment includes an estimate of the number of proprietors as well as total wage and salary employment. Only annual estimates are available.

The latest current dollar earnings per employee figure by county is presented on Arizona Indicators, along with data for the same year for the United States, the U.S. metro average, the U.S. nonmetro average, and Arizona. The figure for Arizona also is expressed as a percentage of the national average. Counties within a metropolitan area are presented as a percentage of the U.S. metro average; the remaining counties are compared to the national nonmetro average. A history of Arizona’s current dollar figure as a percentage of the national average is presented back to 1969. In addition, the inflation-adjusted percent change in earnings per employee is displayed for each area, beginning with 1970. The data are inflation adjusted using the gross domestic product implicit price deflator (GDP deflator).

Data Source: 

U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Annual data by state are released in September. County data are released two months later, in November. All of the data can be accessed from http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm.

The GDP deflator is available from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/national/index.htm. Click on the “Interactive Tables: GDP and the National Income and Product Account (NIPA) Historical Tables” link; the GDP deflator is in Table 1.1.9 (Section 1: Domestic Product and Income).

Data Quality Comments: 

Some of the inputs to the calculation of earnings by state and county are estimated. The employment figures also are estimates. No distinction is made between full-time and part-time employment.

iconEarnings Per Employee, 2013

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Visualization Notes:

Earnings per employee in Arizona in 2013 was $49,981, less than the national average of $55,768. The earnings per employee figure in 2013 was less than the U.S. metro average in each of the state’s eight metropolitan counties. Two of the seven nonmetro counties had a figure in excess of the U.S. nonmetro average.

iconEarnings Per Employee as Percentages of the National Averages, 2013

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Visualization Notes:

Reasonable targets for Arizona are for the state’s earnings per employee to be near the national average, for the larger metro counties to have a figure near the U.S. metro average, and for the nonmetro counties to have a figure equal to the nonmetro average.

Among Arizona’s eight metropolitan counties, earnings per employee in 2013 ranged from 8 percent less than the U.S. metro average in Maricopa to 38 percent below average in Yavapai. In contrast, among the seven nonmetro counties, the figure in Greenlee and Santa Cruz was higher than the U.S. nonmetro average; the lowest figure, in Apache County, was only 13 percent below the average.

iconEarnings Per Employee in Arizona as a Percentage of the National Average

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Visualization Notes:

A reasonable target is for Arizona’s earnings per employee to be near the national average. This was the case during the early 1970s when the state’s figure was within 1 percent of the national average. Earnings per employee in Arizona was within 5 percent of the national average in each year from 1969 through 1982, but has not been closer than 7 percent in any year since 1984. From 1993 through 2011, Arizona’s figure was between 7-and-10 percent below average in each year. The differential was more than 10 percent in 2012 and 2013.

iconEarnings Per Employee, Inflation-Adjusted Percent Change

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Visualization Notes:

The inflation-adjusted percent change in earnings per employee is cyclical, with declines or small gains common during recessions and larger increases usually occurring during expansions. Arizona generally outperforms the nation by a small margin during expansions, but posts larger decreases during recessions. Arizona’s change was negative from 2007 through 2009 and was less than or equal to the U.S. average in each year from 2007 through 2013.

Data Source

U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Annual data by state are released in September. County data are released two months later, in November. All of the data can be accessed from http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm.

The GDP deflator is available from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis: http://www.bea.gov/national/index.htm. Click on the “Interactive Tables: GDP and the National Income and Product Account (NIPA) Historical Tables” link; the GDP deflator is in Table 1.1.9 (Section 1: Domestic Product and Income).