The average weekly wage in Whatcom County dropped significantly last spring, but it could have more to do with a temporary influx of workers in 2012 than a downturn in the economy.
Whatcom's weekly wage in the second quarter was $763, down 1.5 percent compared to the same period in 2012, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Whatcom County ranked 330th out of the 335 largest counties in terms of wage growth for that period.
In the second quarter of 2012, Whatcom's revised weekly wage locally was $775, up 3.5 percent from the previous year, ranking it among the highest jumps in the U.S.
During the second quarter of 2012, BP Cherry Point was dealing with repairs from a February 2012 fire as well as major maintenance work involving more than 3,000 contract workers, potentially boosting the average. In the second quarter of 2011, Whatcom's average weekly wage was $749.
Wages increased in the nine other largest Washington counties, according to the data. King County continued to top the list of highest weekly wages in the state, averaging $1,202, up 2.9 percent. Snohomish County rose 1.6 percent to $992.
Whatcom County ranked ninth out of the 10 largest Washington counties in terms of average weekly wage. Yakima County ranked 10th, averaging $629 a week.
The U.S. average weekly wage increased by 2.1 percent to $921 in the second quarter of 2013, according to the report.