Strong growth in the private sector and most government sectors sharply pushed up wages in El Paso and Doña Ana counties in the third quarter of 2019, according to new federal data.

Doña Ana County average weekly wages increased 4.5 percent in the third quarter of 2019 (July-September) compared to the same period a year earlier, according to data released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

El Paso County weekly wages increased by 3.9 percent. (BLS data for large counties released last month said El Paso’s average weekly wages increased 4.2 percent; the reason for the discrepancy wasn’t immediately clear.)

Nationwide, wages increased by 3.6 percent in the third quarter. New Mexico average weekly wages shot up by 5.3 percent, and Texas wages rose by 4.1 percent, according to the BLS.

Even with strong growth, average weekly wages in El Paso and Doña Ana counties still are well below national averages. El Paso county wages are 70 percent of the national average and Doña Ana is at 68 percent of the national average.

The gap is even more pronounced in the private sector, where El Paso and Doña Ana county wages are 63 percent and 59 percent, respectively, of the national average.

Wages nationally and regionally showed strong growth in all sectors but the federal government. Scroll down for a look at average weekly wage growth by key sectors.

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986.