Updated January 24 at 4:24pm

Providence, Bristol Co., Mass., outpace U.S. in weekly wage gain

The average weekly wage in Providence County rose to $999 in the first quarter of 2013, a 2.7 percent increase over the same period last year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday. More

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Providence, Bristol Co., Mass., outpace U.S. in weekly wage gain

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PROVIDENCE – The average weekly wage in Providence County rose to $999 in the first quarter of 2013, a 2.7 percent increase over the same period last year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday.

The income hike landed Providence at No. 28 in the BLS ranking of the 334 largest U.S. counties in order of highest percentage rise in weekly wages.

Among the largest New England counties - those with 75,000 or more people employed - Providence placed third, behind Hampden County, Mass. (No. 7) with a 4.8 percent rise to $899 and Cumberland County, Maine (No. 15) with a 3.5 percent rise to $896.

In Bristol County, Mass., the average weekly wage rose 0.8 percent to $850 in the first quarter, placing at No. 154 in the country and No. 10 in New England.

Both Providence and Bristol County, Mass., topped the national rise in average weekly wages, which increased 0.6 percent over the year to an average of $989 in the first quarter. Among the 334 largest counties in the U.S., 232 experienced wage increases, according to the BLS.

In terms of year-over-year gains in employment, Providence fared less well. In the first quarter, employment rose 0.3 percent, earning the county a spot at No. 260 among U.S. counties and No. 11 among New England counties.

The BLS reported that 266,900 employees worked at 17,400 workplace establishments in Providence County in the first quarter.

Bristol County, Mass., saw no change in employment over the year, holding at 208,900 people working at 16,200 workplace establishments. Bristol County placed at No. 283 in the U.S. and No. 15 in New England for gains in employment.

The top New England counties for first-quarter employment growth were all in Massachusetts. Suffolk County (No. 142) topped the list with 1.7 percent employment growth, followed by Plymouth County (No. 150) with 1.6 percent and Middlesex and Norfolk Counties (No. 156), each with 1.5 percent.

Nationally, employment increased 1.6 percent, and 288 of the 334 largest counties in the U.S. saw year-over-year employment gains in the first quarter.

According to the report, 132 million Americans worked at 9.2 million workplace establishments in the first quarter of 2013.

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