Friday, June 30, 2023
Workers in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $22.90 in May 2022, 23 percent below the nationwide average of $29.76, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Victoria G. Lee noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were lower than their respective national averages in all of the 22 major occupational groups.
When compared to the nationwide distribution, Hickory area employment was more highly concentrated in 3 of the 22 occupational groups: production; transportation and material moving; and installation, maintenance, and repair. Fifteen groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation, including business and financial operations, management, and computer and mathematical. (See table A.)
|Major occupational group||Percent of total employment||Mean hourly wage ($)|
|United States||Hickory||United States||Hickory||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
Educational instruction 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
One occupational group—production—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Hickory had 29,730 jobs in production, accounting for 19.4 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 5.9-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $19.42, significantly below the national wage of $21.81.
Some of the larger detailed occupations within the production group included miscellaneous assemblers and fabricators (4,180), upholsterers (2,690), and sewing machine operators (2,470). Among the higher-paying jobs in this group were power plant operators and first-line supervisors of production and operating workers, with mean hourly wages of $31.01 and $28.92, respectively. At the lower end of the wage scale were laundry and dry-cleaning workers ($12.52) and textile, garment, and related materials pressers ($12.70). (Detailed data for the production occupations are presented in table 1; for a complete listing of detailed occupations available go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_25860.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 than it does nationally. In the Hickory area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in many of the occupations within the production group. For instance, upholsterers were employed at 96.1 times the national rate in Hickory, and cutters and trimmers by hand, at 82.9 times the U.S. average. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers had a location quotient of 1.0 in Hickory, indicating that this particular occupation’s local and national employment shares were similar.
These statistics are from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, a federal-state cooperative program between BLS and State Workforce Agencies, in this case, the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
The May 2022 OEWS estimates use the model-based (MB3) estimation method implemented with the May 2021 estimates release. Additional updates were made to the MB3 wage processing methodology for May 2022. For more information, see the May 2022 Survey Methods and Reliability Statement.
The May 2022 estimates are the first OEWS estimates to be produced using the 2022 NAICS, which replaces the 2017 NAICS used for the May 2017-May 2021 estimates. See North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) at BLS for details.
The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey is a semiannual survey measuring occupational employment and wage rates for wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments in the United States. The OEWS data available from BLS include cross-industry occupational employment and wage estimates for the nation; over 580 areas, including states and the District of Columbia, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), nonmetropolitan areas, and territories; national industry-specific estimates at the NAICS sector, 3-digit, most 4-digit, and selected 5- and 6-digit industry levels, and national estimates by ownership across all industries and for schools and hospitals. OEWS data are available at www.bls.gov/oes/tables.htm.
The OEWS survey is a cooperative effort between BLS and the State Workforce Agencies (SWAs). BLS funds the survey and provides the procedures and technical support, while the State Workforce Agencies collect most of the data. OEWS estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.1 million establishments. Each year, two semiannual panels of approximately 179,000 to 187,000 sampled establishments are contacted, one panel in May and the other in November. Responses are obtained by Internet or other electronic means, mail, email, telephone, or personal visit. The May 2022 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected over a 3-year period: May 2022, November 2021, May 2021, November 2020, May 2020, and November 2019. The unweighted sampled employment of 80 million across all six semiannual panels represents approximately 57 percent of total national employment. The overall national response rate for the six panels, based on the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is 65.4 percent based on establishments and 62.5 percent based on weighted sampled employment. The sample in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,637 establishments with a response rate of 76 percent. For more information about OEWS concepts and methodology, go to www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tec.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.
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 Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Alexander County, Burke County, Caldwell County, and Catawba County.
For more information
Information in this release will be made available to individuals with sensory impairments upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Telecommunications Relay Service: 7-1-1.
|Occupation (1)||Employment||Mean wages ($)|
|Level (2)||Location quotient (3)||Hourly||Annual (4)|
First-line supervisors of production and operating workers
Electrical, electronic, and electromechanical assemblers, except coil winders, tapers, and finishers
Miscellaneous assemblers and fabricators
Butchers and meat cutters
Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers
Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Lathe and turning machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic
Tool and die makers
Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers
Printing press operators
Laundry and dry-cleaning workers
Pressers, textile, garment, and related materials
Sewing machine operators
Textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators and tenders
Textile cutting machine setters, operators, and tenders
Textile knitting and weaving machine setters, operators, and tenders
Textile winding, twisting, and drawing out machine setters, operators, and tenders
Extruding and forming machine setters, operators, and tenders, synthetic and glass fibers
Fabric and apparel patternmakers
Textile, apparel, and furnishings workers, all other
Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters
Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood
Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing
Power plant operators
Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators
Chemical equipment operators and tenders
Separating, filtering, clarifying, precipitating, and still machine setters, operators, and tenders
Grinding and polishing workers, hand
Mixing and blending machine setters, operators, and tenders
Cutters and trimmers, hand
Cutting and slicing machine setters, operators, and tenders
Extruding, forming, pressing, and compacting machine setters, operators, and tenders
Furnace, kiln, oven, drier, and kettle operators and tenders
Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers
Dental laboratory technicians
Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders
Painting, coating, and decorating workers
Coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators, and tenders
Computer numerically controlled tool operators
Computer numerically controlled tool programmers
Adhesive bonding machine operators and tenders
Paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders
Production workers, all other
Last Modified Date: Friday, June 30, 2023