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July 08, 2014


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Occupational Employment and Wages in Erie – May 2013

Workers in the Erie Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $18.57 in May 2013, 17 percent below the nationwide average of $22.33, 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 17 of the 22 major occupational groups, including arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media; management; and architecture and engineering. (See table A and box note at end of release.)



Table A. Occupational employment and wages by major occupational group, United States and the Erie Metropolitan Statistical Area, and measures of statistical significance, May 2013
  Percent of total employment Mean hourly wage
United States Erie United States Erie Percent difference(1)

Total, all occupations

100.0 100.0 $22.33 $18.57* -17


53.15 45.87* -14

Business and financial operations

5.0 3.5* 34.14 28.54* -16

Computer and mathematical

2.8 1.0* 39.43 29.02* -26

Architecture and engineering

38.51 31.45* -18

Life, physical, and social science

0.9 0.2* 33.37 29.01* -13

Community and social service

1.4 2.0* 21.50 18.54* -14


0.8 0.3* 47.89

Education, training, and library


Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

26.72 19.07* -29

Healthcare practitioners and technical

5.8 6.7* 35.93 31.97* -11

Healthcare support

3.0 4.4* 13.61 11.90* -13

Protective service


Food preparation and serving related

9.0 9.6* 10.38 9.72* -6

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

12.51 10.61* -15

Personal care and service

3.0 4.0* 11.88 10.21* -14

Sales and related

10.6 11.4* 18.37 15.26* -17

Office and administrative support

16.78 14.95* -11

Farming, fishing, and forestry

0.3 0.0* 11.70 17.84* 52

Construction and extraction

3.8 2.9* 21.94 20.58* -6

Installation, maintenance, and repair

21.35 17.90* -16


6.6 12.1* 16.79

Transportation and material moving

6.8 4.9* 16.28 14.45* -11
* 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.

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

When compared to the nationwide distribution, Erie employment was more highly concentrated in 7 of the 22 occupational groups including production and healthcare support. Conversely, eight groups had employment shares significantly below their national representation; these groups included transportation and material moving, computer and mathematical, and management.

One occupational group—production—was chosen to illustrate the diversity of data available for any of the 22 major occupational categories. Erie had 15,130 jobs in production, accounting for 12.1 percent of local area employment, significantly above the 6.6-percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $16.50, which was comparable to the national average of $16.79.

With employment of 1,400, welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers was the largest occupation within the production group, followed by machinists (1,030). Among the higher-paying jobs were first-line supervisors of production and operating workers ($27.87) and tool and die makers ($21.54). At the lower end of the wage scale were production worker helpers and team assemblers, with mean hourly wages of $11.43 and $12.07, respectively. (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 as it does nationally. In the Erie area, above-average concentrations of employment were found in several of the occupations within the production group. For instance, metal and plastic molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders were employed at over five-and-a-half times the national rate in Erie, and machinists at nearly three times the U.S. average. On the other hand, laundry and dry-cleaning workers had a location quotient of 0.8 in Erie, 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.


OES wage and employment data for the 22 major occupational groups in the Erie Metropolitan Statistical Area were compared to their respective national averages based on statistical significance testing.  Only those occupations with wages or employment shares above or below the national wage or share after testing for significance at the 90-percent confidence level meet the criteria. 

NOTE:  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 for a 3-year period. May 2013 estimates are based on responses from six semiannual panels collected in May 2013, November 2012, May 2012, November 2011, May 2011, and November 2010. The overall national response rate for the six panels is 75.3 percent based on establishments and 71.6 percent based on employment. The sample in the Erie Metropolitan Statistical Area included 1,674 establishments with a response rate of 76 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 2013 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 Erie, Pa. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Erie County 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: 1-800-877-8339.


Table 1. Employment and wage data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, by occupation, Erie Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2013
Occupation(1) Employment(2) Mean wage
Level Location quotient(3) Hourly Annual(4)

Production occupations

15,130 1.8 $16.50 $34,310

First-line supervisors of production and operating workers

910 1.7 27.87 57,980

Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers

430 2.2 13.05 27,140

Structural metal fabricators and fitters

70 0.9 16.15 33,580

Team assemblers

790 0.8 12.07 25,110

Assemblers and fabricators, all other

110 0.5 (5) (5)


270 1.7 11.95 24,850

Butchers and meat cutters

120 0.9 14.83 30,850

Food batchmakers

240 2.3 13.19 27,440

Food cooking machine operators and tenders

50 1.6 12.91 26,860

Computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic

280 2.2 16.47 34,250

Computer numerically controlled machine tool programmers, metal and plastic

60 2.5 18.22 37,900

Forging machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

90 4.3 22.28 46,340

Cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

720 4.0 12.92 26,870

Drilling and boring machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

70 3.8 16.18 33,650

Grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

290 4.3 13.93 28,980

Lathe and turning machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

190 4.9 17.01 35,380

Milling and planing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

40 2.0 16.81 34,970


1,030 2.8 18.91 39,330

Metal-refining furnace operators and tenders

60 2.9 16.71 34,750

Foundry mold and coremaking

(5) (5) 13.06 27,160

Molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

660 5.6 15.57 32,390

Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

290 3.3 (5) (5)

Tool and die makers

260 3.5 21.54 44,810

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers

1,400 4.2 16.17 33,630

Welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders

70 1.4 16.35 34,010

Heat treating equipment setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

70 3.4 20.17 41,960

Plating and coating machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

130 3.9 17.56 36,530

Prepress technicians and workers

50 1.3 19.02 39,560

Printing press operators

240 1.5 16.23 33,750

Print binding and finishing workers

(5) (5) 14.98 31,160

Laundry and dry-cleaning workers

150 0.8 $10.92 $22,700

Sewing machine operators

110 0.8 13.06 27,170

Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood

(5) (5) 12.10 25,160

Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing

110 1.7 13.63 28,350

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators

110 1.1 21.41 44,530

Gas plant operators

140 10.6 24.66 51,300

Chemical equipment operators and tenders

40 0.7 14.45 30,050

Separating, filtering, clarifying, precipitating, and still machine setters, operators, and tenders

30 0.9 18.81 39,130

Mixing and blending machine setters, operators, and tenders

(5) (5) 14.93 31,050

Cutting and slicing machine setters, operators, and tenders

30 0.6 11.90 24,750

Extruding, forming, pressing, and compacting machine setters, operators, and tenders

160 2.5 22.55 46,910

Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers

840 1.9 15.33 31,890

Dental laboratory technicians

60 1.8 21.45 44,610

Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders

110 0.3 15.93 33,140

Coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators, and tenders

110 1.4 14.32 29,790

Painters, transportation equipment

(5) (5) 26.51 55,150

Cleaning, washing, and metal pickling equipment operators and tenders

30 2.1 12.35 25,680

Molders, shapers, and casters, except metal and plastic

50 1.6 12.39 25,770

Helpers--production workers

760 1.9 11.43 23,780

Production workers, all other

130 0.7 (5) (5)

(1) For a complete listing of all detailed occupations in the Erie MSA, 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: Tuesday, July 08, 2014