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Wages up in many of New Jersey's largest counties

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Wages in 13 of New Jersey's largest counties grew between the end of 2011 and the last quarter of 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Bergen and Morris counties ranked at the top of that list, with gains of 6.2 and 5.4 percent, respectively. And average weekly wages in Morris, Somerset and Mercer counties came in at more than $1,300 for the fourth quarter of 2012, which is well above the national average of $1,000 per week. Those counties now rank among the nation's top 20 highest-paying counties.

But the news wasn't good in some parts of the state. Atlantic and Passaic counties both posted drops in wages. In Atlantic, a 1.4 percent decline earned it a ranking of 325th out of 328 large counties in the country — defined as counties with employment of 75,000 people or more — in terms of wages. Passaic, with a 2.1 percent drop in wages, came in at 327th.

The bureau's report also notes employment grew in 12 of New Jersey's largest counties between December 2011 and December 2012. Burlington and Hudson counties had job growth rates of 2.8 percent and 2 percent respectively, which is well above the national rate of 1.9 percent.

Meanwhile, Essex, Atlantic and Camden counties all experienced drops in employment, with Essex down 0.3 percent and both Atlantic and Camden counties down 0.2 percent for the year.

The bureau said the data from the fourth quarter of 2012 reflects the impact of Hurricane Sandy, as well as the general economic trends at that time.

Reporter Mary Johnson is @mjohns422 on Twitter.

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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