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News Release Information

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

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Occupational Employment and Wages in Pittsburgh – May 2015

Workers in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $22.24 in May 2015, 4 percent below the nationwide average of $23.23, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sheila Watkins, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were significantly lower than their respective national averages in 12 of the 22 major occupational groups, including computer and mathematical, protective service, and community and social service. Three other occupational groups had average wages that were measurably higher than their respective national averages: management; production; and construction and extraction.

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Pittsburgh employment shares were significantly higher in 8 of the 22 occupational groups including healthcare practitioners and technical, office and administrative support, and personal care and service. Conversely, nine occupational groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation; these groups included management; production; and transportation and material moving. (See table A and box note at end of release.)


Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and Pittsburgh metropolitan area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2015
Major occupational groupPercent of total employmentMean hourly wage
United StatesPittsburghUnited StatesPittsburghPercent difference (1)

Total, all occupations

100%100% $23.23$22.24*-4



Business and financial operations

5.15.1 35.4832.42*-9

Computer and mathematical

2.92.9 41.4335.35*-15

Architecture and engineering


Life, physical, and social science


Community and social service



0.80.8 49.7448.68 -2

Education, training, and library

6.25.7*25.4826.32 3

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media


Healthcare practitioners and technical


Healthcare support

2.93.2*14.1914.13 0

Protective service


Food preparation and serving related


Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

3.22.9*13.0212.92 -1

Personal care and service


Sales and related

10.510.5 18.9018.68 -1

Office and administrative support


Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.30.1*12.6713.21 4

Construction and extraction


Installation, maintenance, and repair

3.94.0 22.1121.22*-4



Transportation and material moving

6.96.4*16.9016.63 -2

(1) A positive percent difference measures how much the mean wage in Pittsburgh is above the national mean wage, while a negative difference reflects a lower wage.

* 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—construction and extraction—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Pittsburgh had 51,430 jobs in construction and extraction, accounting for 4.5 percent of local area employment, significantly above the 4.0-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $23.39, which was significantly above the national average of $22.88.

Some of the larger detailed occupations within the construction and extraction group included construction laborers (9,060), carpenters (8,040), and operating engineers and other construction equipment operators (4,660). Among the higher-paying jobs were boilermakers ($34.05) and first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers ($33.88). At the lower end of the wage scale were construction laborers and electrician helpers, with mean hourly wages of $18.30 and $12.77, respectively. (Detailed occupational data for construction and extraction 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 as it does nationally. In the Pittsburgh area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in several of the occupations within the construction and extraction group. For instance, carpet installers were employed at 2.6 times the national rate in Pittsburgh, and oil and gas rotary drill operators were employed at 3.0 times the U.S. average. On the other hand, roofers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Pittsburgh, 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 Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

Notes on Occupational Employment Statistics Data

With the issuance of data for May 2015, the OES program has incorporated redefined metropolitan area definitions as designated by the Office of Management and Budget. OES data are available for 394 metropolitan areas, 38 metropolitan divisions, and 167 OES-defined nonmetropolitan areas. A listing of the areas and their definitions can be found at

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. The OES program produces employment and wage estimates for over 800 occupations for all industries combined in the nation; the 50 states and the District of Columbia; 432 metropolitan areas and divisions; 167 nonmetropolitan areas; and Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. National estimates are also available by industry for NAICS sectors, 3-, 4-, and selected 5- and 6-digit industries, and by ownership across all industries and for schools and hospitals. OES data are available at

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 2015 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2015, November 2014, May 2014, November 2013, May 2013, and November 2012. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 73.5 percent based on establishments and 69.6 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The unweighted employment of sampled establishments across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 57.9 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 Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area included 6,059 establishments with a response rate of 75 percent. For more information about OES concepts and methodology, go to

The May 2015 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

Metropolitan 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 Pittsburgh, Pa. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties in Pennsylvania.

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, Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2015
Occupation (1)Employment (2)Mean wage
LevelLocation quotient (3)HourlyAnnual (4)

Construction and extraction occupations


First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers




Brickmasons and blockmasons




Carpet installers


Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles


Tile and marble setters


Cement masons and concrete finishers


Construction laborers


Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators


Pile-driver operators


Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators


Drywall and ceiling tile installers








Insulation workers, mechanical


Painters, construction and maintenance




Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters


Plasterers and stucco masons


Reinforcing iron and rebar workers




Sheet metal workers


Structural iron and steel workers


Helpers--brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, and tile and marble setters






Helpers--painters, paperhangers, plasterers, and stucco masons


Helpers--pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters




Construction and building inspectors


Elevator installers and repairers


Hazardous materials removal workers


Highway maintenance workers


Rail-track laying and maintenance equipment operators


Septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners


Derrick operators, oil and gas


Rotary drill operators, oil and gas


Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining


Earth drillers, except oil and gas


Continuous mining machine operators


Mine cutting and channeling machine operators


Roustabouts, oil and gas


Helpers--extraction workers


(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, 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) Estimates not available.


Last Modified Date: Wednesday, June 01, 2016