The average salary paid to workers in Custer County is $615 a week, ranking it 36th of the state’s 44 counties, according to data from the first quarter of 2018 released this month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Overall, Idaho ranks low in weekly wages, coming in at No. 50 among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the report shows. The weekly average wage for all Idaho counties is $809. That’s below the national average of $1,152 a week. Only Mississippi’s average weekly wage of $765 is below Idaho’s state average.

The Idaho county with the highest average weekly wage is neighboring Butte County, with an average salary of $1,742. At the bottom is Boise County, where the average wage is $441 a week.

Lemhi County tied with Lincoln County at positions 30 and 31 with an average weekly salary of $661, the report shows.

Some other western states ranked low in weekly wages, too, according to the report. Neighboring Montana is No. 49, with an average weekly wage of $819. South Dakota was No. 48, $842 a week. New Mexico’s average salary of $862 ranked it No. 47. Wyoming is No. 38 in pay at $914 a week. But Washington ranked No. 7, with an average weekly wage of $1,306. Oregon was 21st with an average wage of $1,026. Nevada’s $977 a week puts it at No. 28. And Utah ranked 33rd, with an average wage of $949.

The District of Columbia has the highest weekly wage in the country – $1,917. New York ranked No. 2 with a wage of $1,597. No. 3 is Massachusetts, $1,501. Connecticut ranks No. 4 with a weekly salary of $1,447. No. 5 is New Jersey, $1,373.

In Idaho, only Butte County registered a weekly average above the national average. Six Idaho counties reported average weekly wages below $600, 22 reported wages from $600 to $699, 10 had wages from $700 to $799, one had wages from $800 to $899, and five had wages at $900 or higher.

Ada County, considered the state’s only large county based on the criteria of having a workforce of at least 75,000 people, ranked No. 4 in pay, $943 a week. No. 2 is Caribou County, at $1,090.

Camas County is third with an average salary of $1,008 a week.

Nationwide, 73.1 percent of all U.S. workers work in the 349 largest counties. The highest salaries are paid in New York, New York, averaging $3,087 a week. Nos. 2 through 4 are all in California – $2,651 in Santa Clara, $2,606 in San Mateo and $2,484 in San Francisco. The lowest weekly pay among the 349 largest counties is $628 a week in Cameron, Texas.

Job growth in Ada County – 4.5 percent – was faster paced that the national growth of 1.6 percent, according to Richard Holden, the bureau’s assistant commissioner for regional operations. The 239,900 workers in Ada County equal one-third of all Idaho workers. Their pay ranks in the bottom half of the salaries paid in those 349 largest counties.

Employment increased in 314 of the 349 large counties in the United States, according to the report. Midland, Texas, showed the largest increase in employment, 12.6 percent over the year. The largest employment decrease among large counties was registered in Kanawha, West Virginia, 1.4 percent.

Average weekly wage information is compiled under the quarterly census of employment and wages program. Data is derived from summaries of employment and total pay of workers covered by state and federal unemployment insurance legislation and provided by state work force agencies. The 10 million employer reports cover 144.6 million workers, both full and part time.

On March 31, when the first quarter of 2018 ended, 712,600 people in Idaho had jobs, according to the bureau’s report.

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