Weld County showed the strongest job and wage growth gains in Colorado in the second quarter of 2012, while hitting No. 5 in the nation in percentage of weekly wage growth.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Tuesday reported that second-quarter growth in employment and wages grew in 287 of 328 of the country’s largest counties. From June 2011 to June 2012, Washington, Ore., recorded the highest average weekly wage growth of 8.5 percent.
Weld was the only Colorado county in the top 10 in wage growth, coming in at No. 9 with an average weekly wage growth of $47 from June 2011-June 2012. It came in at No. 5 in percentage of wage growth at 6.4 percent, compared to 1.3 percent growth across the country.
Weld’s status is somewhat of a surprise and a relief to Shannon Jantz, branch manager of Apple One, 2914 67th Ave., which has been working with employer-clients for the past year to boost the bottom floor on wages.
“We’ve been making a push and getting clients to focus more on even $11 an hour,” Jantz said in an interview Tuesday.
The philosophy has run counter to traditional northern Colorado insistence of keeping the wage floor at $10 an hour. But Jantz and her staff’s appeal to employers to bring up wages to reduce attrition among their ranks is starting to ring a bell.
Happy employees stick around longer, which means less time focused on training new employees, she said.
“Toward the end of last year, we started talking to all clients, and a lot were not sure if they wanted to do that,” Jantz said. “It was with them losing some good or almost losing good people that they decided maybe I should increase this and because of that increase, I could retain good people.”
That’s been to the benefit of employees, who have been able to negotiate wages for the jobs they want, Jantz said.
In average weekly wage growth, while Weld sat at the top of the state, only Larimer County (ranked No. 25 in the nation) could rival it with wage growth of 3.7 percent.
Job numbers were a different picture. While the county came in second in the state for job numbers growth, it didn’t quite break the country’s top 10. Yakima, Wash., registered the highest employment growth across the country at 8.2 percent.
Weld’s employment did grow at 3.7 percent in that time, coming in just below Douglas County, which grew 4.2 percent in employment.
The latest state Department of Labor and Employment numbers showed that Weld topped the state from August to September 2012, with jobs growing at 4.3 percent.