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Originally published September 26, 2013 at 2:56 PM | Page modified September 26, 2013 at 6:45 PM

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King County was tops for wage growth among nation’s 10 biggest

Average weekly wages in King County rose 1.6 percent in the first quarter from a year ago to $1,288, according to data released Thursday.

Seattle Times business reporter

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King County posted the highest wage growth among the nation’s 10 largest counties in the first quarter, data released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show.

Average weekly wages in King rose 1.6 percent from a year earlier to $1,288 for the period ended March 31, led by solid growth in the professional and business-services sector.

King County, which ranks as the ninth-largest job market nationwide, was followed by Miami-Dade, Fla., where average weekly wages rose 0.9 percent to $912.

Dallas had the third-highest rise, up 0.4 percent to $1,215.

King County was tops for wage growth in both percentage and absolute-dollar terms.

Of the 10 largest U.S. counties, based on employment, six recorded wage declines for the quarter, reflecting a lackluster jobs recovery.

Locally, Pierce County posted a 2.7 percent increase in weekly wages to $864, while Snohomish County saw wages rise 1.7 percent to $1,085.

Even Seattle’s wage growth, which was not adjusted for inflation, fell short of a 1.8 percent increase in the region’s Consumer Price Index for February.

Los Angeles County saw its average weekly wages decline 1.8 percent to $1,061, while San Diego County was close behind, with a decrease of 1.7 percent to $1,056.

Other large counties with lower wages were Chicago’s Cook County, down 1.0 percent to $1,185; Orange County, Calif., down 0.5 percent to $1,086; and Houston’s Harris County, down 0.4 percent to $1,333.

Phoenix’s Maricopa County posted no change, with average weekly wages of $945.

Among the five largest job sectors in King, County professional and business services had the most growth in average weekly wages, up 2.7 percent to $1,586. It was followed by trade, transportation and utilities, up 2.5 percent to $1,109, and government, up 2.1 percent to $1,162.

The local education and health-services sector saw its wages rise 1.9 percent to $890, while leisure and hospitality posted an increase of 1.8 percent to $453.

For the nation as a whole, average weekly wages grew 0.6 percent in the first quarter to $989.

Amy Martinez: 206-464-2923 or amartinez@seattletimes.com. On Twitter: @amyemartinez

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