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Wednesday, August 26, 2015


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Occupational Employment and Wages in Rockford — May 2014

Workers in the Rockford Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $20.65 in May 2014, about 9 percent below the nationwide average of $22.71, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Charlene Peiffer noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were higher than their respective national averages in 2 of the 22 major occupational groups: construction and extraction; and production. Thirteen groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages, including management; computer and mathematical; and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, local employment was more highly concentrated in 3 of the 22 occupational groups: production; transportation and material moving; and healthcare practitioners and technical. Conversely, 11 groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including business and financial operations; computer and mathematical; and food preparation and serving related. (See table A and box note at end of release.)

Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Rockford Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2014
Major occupational group Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Rockford United States Rockford Percent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100.0% 100.0% $22.71 $20.65* -9


5.0 4.8 54.08 45.20* -16

Business and financial operations

5.1 3.0* 34.81 29.60* -15

Computer and mathematical

2.8 0.9* 40.37 33.05* -18

Architecture and engineering

1.8 1.9 39.19 32.53* -17

Life, physical, and social science

0.8 0.3* 33.69 30.30* -10

Community and social services

1.4 1.5 21.79 20.78 -5


0.8 0.4* 48.61 44.99 -7

Education, training, and library

6.2 6.3 25.10 25.13 0

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

1.3 1.0* 26.82 19.90* -26

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.8 6.9* 36.54 34.47* -6

Healthcare support

2.9 2.8 13.86 13.82 0

Protective service

2.4 2.2 21.14 23.16 10

Food preparation and serving related

9.1 7.5* 10.57 9.90* -6

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.2 2.7* 12.68 11.90* -6

Personal care and service

3.1 2.6 12.01 10.65* -11

Sales and related

10.5 9.3* 18.59 16.20* -13

Office and administrative support

16.0 14.4* 17.08 16.19* -5

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 (2)* 12.09 14.29 18

Construction and extraction

3.9 2.9* 22.40 29.11* 30

Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.9 3.8 21.74 22.29 3


6.6 15.8* 17.06 18.13* 6

Transportation and material moving

6.8 9.1* 16.57 14.55* -12

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Rockford is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.
(2) Indicates a value of less than 0.05 percent.
* The percent share of employment or mean hourly wage for this area is significantly different from the national average of all areas at the 90-percent confidence level.

One occupational group—production—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Rockford had 22,930 jobs in production, accounting for 15.8 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 6.6-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $18.13, significantly above the national wage of $17.06.

Some of the largest detailed occupations within the production group included team assemblers (5,590), machinists (2,590), and first-line supervisors of production and operating workers (1,250). Among the higher paying jobs were stationary engineers and boiler operators; and first-line supervisors of production and operating workers, with mean hourly wages of $31.62 and $28.49, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were laundry and dry-cleaning workers ($10.27) and woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing ($10.90). (Detailed occupational data for production are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to .)

Location quotients allow us to explore the occupational make-up of a metropolitan area by comparing the composition of jobs in an area relative to the national average. (See table 1.) For example, a location quotient of 2.0 indicates that an occupation accounts for twice the share of employment in the area than it does nationally. In the Rockford Metropolitan Statistical Area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the production group. For instance, heat treating equipment setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic were employed at 11.6 times the national rate in Rockford, and tool and die makers, at 8.2 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, packaging and filling machine operators and tenders had a location quotient of 1.2 in Rockford, indicating that this particular occupation’s local and national employment shares were similar.

These statistics are from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, a federal-state cooperative program between BLS and State Workforce Agencies, in this case, the Illinois Department of Employment Security.


A value that is statistically different from another does not necessarily mean that the difference has economic or practical significance. Statistical significance is concerned with the ability to make confident statements about a universe based on a sample. It is entirely possible that a large difference between two values is not significantly different statistically, while a small difference is, since both the size and heterogeneity of the sample affect the relative error of the data being tested.

Technical Note

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey is a semiannual mail survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments in the United States. Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are also surveyed, but their data are not included in the national estimates. OES estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.2 million establishments. Forms are mailed to approximately 200,000 sampled establishments in May and November each year. May 2014 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2014, November 2013, May 2013, November 2012, May 2012, and November 2011. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 74.3 percent based on establishments and 70.5 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The unweighted employment of sampled establishments across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 57.1 percent of total national employment. (Response rates are slightly lower for these estimates due to the federal shutdown in October 2013.) The sample in the Rockford Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,721 establishments with a response rate of 71 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

The OES survey provides estimates of employment and hourly and annual wages for wage and salary workers in 22 major occupational groups and 821 detailed occupations for the nation, states, metropolitan statistical areas, metropolitan divisions, and nonmetropolitan areas. In addition, employment and wage estimates for 94 minor groups and 458 broad occupations are available in the national data. OES data by state and metropolitan/nonmetropolitan area are available from and, respectively.

The May 2014 OES estimates are based on the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system and the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Information about the 2010 SOC is available on the BLS website at and information about the 2012 NAICS is available at

Area definitions

The substate area data published in this release reflect the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

The Rockford, Ill. Metropolitan Statistical Area  includes Boone and Winnebago Counties.

Additional information

OES data are available on our regional web page at Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at Detailed technical information about the OES survey is available in our Survey Methods and Reliability Statement on the BLS website at

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request . Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 800-877-8339.

Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Rockford Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2014
Occupation (1) Employment Mean wages
Level (2) Location quotient (3) Hourly Annual (4)

Production Occupations

22,930 2.4 $18.13 $37,720

First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers

1,250 2.0 28.49 59,270

Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers

290 1.3 14.34 29,820

Electromechanical Equipment Assemblers

350 6.9 (5) (5)

Engine and Other Machine Assemblers

(5) (5) 20.87 43,420

Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters

80 0.9 19.34 40,230

Team Assemblers

5,590 4.6 19.14 39,810

Assemblers and Fabricators, All Other

220 0.9 13.51 28,100


190 1.0 11.08 23,050

Butchers and Meat Cutters

230 1.6 12.63 26,270

Food Batchmakers

380 3.0 15.74 32,740

Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic

500 3.1 18.63 38,750

Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic

200 7.4 19.96 41,510

Extruding and Drawing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

150 1.9 15.81 32,880

Forging Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

210 9.3 22.74 47,290

Cutting, Punching, and Press Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

430 2.1 17.09 35,540

Drilling and Boring Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

120 6.5 18.09 37,630

Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

440 5.8 14.65 30,460

Lathe and Turning Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

270 5.9 17.96 37,350

Milling and Planing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

90 3.9 15.49 32,210


2,590 6.1 17.91 37,250

Molding, Coremaking, and Casting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

590 4.3 13.09 27,230

Multiple Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

470 4.4 16.72 34,780

Tool and Die Makers

670 8.2 23.66 49,210

Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers

500 1.3 15.78 32,820

Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

110 1.9 14.91 31,010

Heat Treating Equipment Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

260 11.6 16.58 34,480

Plating and Coating Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic

(5) (5) 17.47 36,330

Tool Grinders, Filers, and Sharpeners

70 6.2 16.54 34,400

Prepress Technicians and Workers

80 2.0 19.09 39,700

Printing Press Operators

160 0.9 18.53 38,540

Laundry and Dry-Cleaning Workers

270 1.2 10.27 21,360

Pressers, Textile, Garment, and Related Materials

(5) (5) 11.38 23,660

Sewing Machine Operators

40 0.3 13.12 27,290

Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters

80 0.8 23.20 48,250

Model Makers, Wood

(5) (5) 14.70 30,570

Woodworking Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Except Sawing

130 1.7 10.90 22,680

Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators

170 4.2 31.62 65,770

Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operators

170 1.4 26.83 55,800

Grinding and Polishing Workers, Hand

(5) (5) 18.33 38,120

Mixing and Blending Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

70 0.5 15.60 32,440

Extruding, Forming, Pressing, and Compacting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

30 0.4 20.17 41,950

Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers

1,250 2.4 18.42 38,320

Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders

470 1.2 11.42 23,760

Coating, Painting, and Spraying Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

370 3.8 15.95 33,180

Painters, Transportation Equipment

50 1.0 24.56 51,080

Paper Goods Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

40 0.4 (5) (5)

Helpers--Production Workers

680 1.5 12.12 25,210

Production Workers, All Other

1,130 4.8 14.93 31,060

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in Rockford, IL, see
(2) Estimates for detailed occupations do not sum to the totals because the totals include occupations not shown separately. Estimates do not include self-employed workers.
(3) The location quotient is the ratio of the area concentration of occupational employment to the national average concentration. A location quotient greater than one indicates the occupation has a higher share of employment than average, and a location quotient less than one indicates the occupation is less prevalent in the area than average.
(4) Annual wages have been calculated by multiplying the hourly mean wage by a ‘year-round, full-time’ hours figure of 2,080 hours; for those occupations where there is not an hourly mean wage published, the annual wage has been directly calculated from the reported survey data.
(5) Estimate not released.


Last Modified Date: Wednesday, August 26, 2015