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Wednesday, June 01, 2016
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.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Mean hourly wage|
|United States||Pittsburgh||United States||Pittsburgh||Percent difference (1)|
Total, all occupations
Business and financial operations
Computer and mathematical
Architecture and engineering
Life, physical, and social science
Community and social service
Education, training, and library
Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media
Healthcare practitioners and technical
Food preparation and serving related
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance
Personal care and service
Sales and related
Office and administrative support
Farming, fishing, and forestry
Construction and extraction
Installation, maintenance, and repair
Transportation and material moving
* 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 www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_38300.htm.)
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.
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 www.bls.gov/oes/current/msa_def.htm.
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.
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 www.bls.gov/oes/tables.htm.
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 www.bls.gov/news.release/ocwage.tn.htm.
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 www.bls.gov/soc and information about the 2012 NAICS is available at www.bls.gov/bls/naics.htm.
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.
OES data are available on our regional web page at www.bls.gov/regions/mid-atlantic. Answers to frequently asked questions about the OES data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/oes_ques.htm. Detailed technical information about the OES survey is available in our Survey Methods and Reliability Statement on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/oes/current/methods_statement.pdf.
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.
|Occupation (1)||Employment (2)||Mean wage|
|Level||Location quotient (3)||Hourly||Annual (4)|
Construction and extraction occupations
First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
Brickmasons and blockmasons
Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles
Tile and marble setters
Cement masons and concrete finishers
Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment 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
Last Modified Date: Wednesday, June 01, 2016